Date: Sat, Dec 01, 2018 08:00PM
Price: $30, $27 Friends, $22.50 students and seniors

“With every swirl and every lift, Jahan Ara would cast a spell on the audience. The sheer grace in her movements drew the viewers in, captivating them in a way few of her successors could ever manage.” - The Express Tribune


The World of Jahanara explores the inner life of Jahanara Akhlaq, a 24-year-old Kathak dancer, who, in her brief life, had fearlessly begun to make her mark in the dance world and envisioned a career in Canada.


Rhythmic and lyrical, Kathak is an elegant dance form that revolves around the concept of storytelling.


Choreographed and performed by Bageshree Vaze, this dance-theatre work interweaves Kathak dance, music, text, and visuals to re-imagine Jahanara’s world on the morning of January 18, 1999, in the hours before her tragic death.


Jahanara’s creative potential and love for dance was never fully realized. She was killed in 1999 along with her father, the famous painter Zahoor ul Akhlaq in their family home in Lahore, Pakistan.


This season, performing arts presentations have been curated to feature acclaimed artists who have transcended fear through their art. Under the banner of “the other side of fear,” we explore the definition of fear, what it means to face fear, and how we attempt to define, confront, and conquer fear in ourselves and others – or, in the case of Jahanara, fearlessness in performing. 



Bageshree Vaze is an award-winning Indo-Canadian dance artist. She is the artistic director of Pratibha Arts in Toronto, which regularly produces and presents works influenced by and highlighting South Asian culture and esthetics. Vaze has studied with some of India’s finest dance and music masters, and her choreographies in Kathak dance have been presented in festivals in Canada, the U.S., and India. As a vocalist, she was named an ubbharta sitara (rising star) by MTV India, and her vocal recordings (such as “Tarana”) are heard regularly around the world. Vaze has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Carleton University and a Master’s in Dance from York University.


Richard Seck has been a professional photographer and designer for more than 25 years. Now based in Toronto, he is a former assistant professor of design and photography in Pakistan. His photography project based on the life and work of Zahoor ul Akhlaq, one of Pakistan’s most renowned 20th century artists, resulted in a major exhibition in Canada entitled LAAL, The Passion of Zahoor ul Akhlaq. Seck’s photography has been featured in publications such as Canadian Architect, BMW Magazine, Toronto Star, Cycle Canada, and Canada Moto Guide.


Simon Rossiter is a Toronto-based lighting designer who occasionally designs scenery. He is lighting director of Fall for Dance North, presented annually at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, and has created more than 200 original designs in collaboration with Canadian companies including Citadel + Compagnie, National Ballet of Canada, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Sudbury Theatre Centre, Theatre Smith Gilmour, and Toronto Dance Theatre. The recipient of three Dora Mavor Moore awards and seven nominations for Outstanding Lighting Design, Rossiter also sits on the Board of Directors of the Associated Designers of Canada.


Vocal coach Ellora Patnaik has won international acclaim as a dancer and actor, and has performed across North America, India, the United Kingdom, and Iceland. Patnaik is the Executive Director of the Chitralekha Dance Academy and holds an Associate Degree from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts where she was a member of the Company in her third year. She has starred in three films – Daiba Daudi (1989), My Own Country (1997), and Tapish (1999) – and was a regular cast member of YTV’s How to Be Indie (2009 to 2011). Recently, Patnaik has been very active in the Toronto Theatre Community, performing in Her2 (Nightwood Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Tarragon Theatre), Rukmini’s Gold (Toronto Fringe Festival), and A Christmas Carol (Soulpepper).


Composer Vineet Vyas is one of Canada’s dynamic musical talents. He is a disciple of the late legendary tabla maestro, Pandit Kishan Maharaj and has performed across India, Europe, and North America with some of India’s eminent classical artists such as Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pandits Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Ustad Aashish Khan, Ustad Shahid Parvez, and Pandit Biru Maharaj. In 2015, he was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award (Outstanding Composition) and was a finalist for the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Muriel Sherrin Award for International Achievement in Music. In 2017, Vyas was commissioned by Opera Nova Scotia to compose and perform Satyam, an Indian classical opera based on the classic love story of Savitri and Satyavan. The work premiered in Halifax in May 2017 and was remounted in August 2018 at the Toronto Music Garden.

Supported by

Toronto Arts Council logo

With funding from

City of Toronto, Canada Council for the Arts

Media Sponsor

Asian Television Network logo


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