Founded in 2007 by Raka Maitra, CHOWK is based in Singapore atop the idyllic Emily Hill. CHOWK has a centre that offers dance classes and a dance company, Chowk Productions, that creates artistic productions and engages in research.
The dance classes include regular lessons in Odissi dance for a range of ages from children to adults, as well as periodic workshops in other Asian traditional somatic practices.
CHOWK’s artistic productions include full-length contemporary and classical dance works that have been commissioned by theatres and festivals in Singapore such as Kala Utsavam and dans: fest. CHOWK has toured internationally and has performed at the Les Hivernale (Winter Festival) in Avignon, Melkweg in Amsterdam, 10 days on the island in Tasmania and at Kennedy Centre in Washington DC to name a few. Some of CHOWK's internationally acclaimed works are The Hungry Stones, The Blind Age, From Another Land and The Second Sunrise. CHOWK has also staged classical shows such as You Cannot Look Away, Pallavi & Space and Pallavi in Time.
Chowk Productions has always left an indelible influence on the audience.
"Heavily charged with emotions of despair and dashing any hopes these dancers leave the audience in awe."
-Ezekiel Oliveira, Fivelines
CHOWK was a recipient of the National Arts Council (Singapore) Seed Grant 2014-17.
RAKA MAITRA | Artistic Director
Raka Maitra is a dancer who defies the conventional dichotomy of 'classical' and 'contemporary'. She is a dancer simpliciter; exploring through her work the notion of 'Asian Culture' through her own language of contemporary dance. The basis of her movement is both the martial arts and classical Indian dance. A disciple of Odissi dancer Madhavi Mudgal, Raka was awarded the Shringarmani, a national level award for Odissi. She has also undergone intensive studies in Serraikella Chhau under Sashadhar Acharya. Raka was an assocaite artist with The Substation, from 2007-2011. As described by dance scholar Dr. Stephanie Burridge, “with great courage and perhaps audacity, Raka has stepped outside safe boundaries and blurred the lines of tradition”. As Dance Europe recently said, “Maitra is without doubt a dancer of the 21st century.” Her recent works include The Blind Age (2014), You Cannot Look Away (2014), Circular Ruins (2012), The Hungry Stones (2011), In Mira (2010) and Stray Birds (2008).
In 2007 she founded CHOWK and is currently its Artistic Director. CHOWK is a recipient of the National Arts Council (Singapore) Seed Grant for the period 2014-17.
SANDHYA SURESH | Company Manager, Dancer
Prior to her contemporary dance training in LASALLE, Sandhya was trained in classical Ballet under the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus and has also completed her Arangetram, a debut Bharathanatyam graduation solo 2012 at the Temple of Fine Arts, Singapore.
Apart from working with with many local and international choreographers, She has also performed in many local festivals such as Kalaa Utsavam, dan:s festival and Continuum- T.H.E dance company, to name a few. Sandhya was also one of the 10 dancers who represented Temple of Fine Arts international at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2008. In 2011, Sandhya choreographed and directed ‘Gemini- a dance concert’ and has also choreographed her own works ‘insight-out’ (2013), ‘Smoking Gun’(2014) and ‘Reena; The Ideal’ (2015) to date.
Sandhya has a diploma in Technology and Arts management from Republic Polytechnic and has completed her degree in LASALLE college of the arts where she attained a BA(Hons) in Dance from Goldsmiths, University of London. Through her passion for dance,Sandhya aims to collaborate with artists of various disciplines and contribute to the ever-growing, pulsating arts scene in Singapore.
NAMAHA MAZOOMDAR | Dancer
Namaha Mazoomdar has 7 years of training in ballet and has been performing semi-classical dances on stage for more than 10 years. Her passion for dance, her grounding in music and her ability to adapt stirred a keen desire to learn a classical dance form. She chose Odissi for its grace, the lilting movements, the attire and the softness. Her Odissi training has been under Daksha Mashruwala in Bombay. Currently, Namaha is a Diploma candidate at the Intercultural Theatre Institute. She is currently a dancer and teacher at CHOWK.
KARISHMA NAIR | Administrative Executive, Dancer
Born in Malaysia, Karishma received her formal dance training in Bharathanatyam from Suvarna Fine Arts for 12 years. During this time, she toured regularly with the troupe, performing around Malaysia, Singapore and India.
She then moved to Singapore in 2011 to further her dance education at Lasalle College of the Arts. At the institution, she trained in Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Jazz & martial arts.
After graduation, Karishma performed in various productions & festivals such as T.H.E Contact Festival, JB Arts Festival & Singapore International Festival of Arts 2015. She performed in The Hungry Stones by CHOWK at Les Hivernales Festival 2015, France before joining the company full time in January 2016.