ABOUT CHOWK

 

Founded in 2007 by Raka Maitra, CHOWK is based in Singapore atop the idyllic Emily Hill. The centre offers dance classes, 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 dance works that have been commissioned by local theatres and festivals in Singapore and have toured internationally. In February 2015, The Hungry Stones was presented at the Hivernale (Winter Festival) in Avignon upon the invitation of the Centre de Développement Chorégraphique. In September 2015, CHOWK premiered From Another Land which was commissioned by The Esplanade for its SG50 programme, marking 50 years of Singapore's nationhood.

Currently the centre's research is in documentation and archival of rhythms in Odissi.

CHOWK is a recipient of the National Arts Council (Singapore) Seed Grant 2014-17.


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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

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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

Karishma began her dance journey at the age of 6, learning Bharathanatyam under the tutelage of Shri Ajit Bhaskaran Dass. She started touring regularly with the troupe of Suvarna Fine Arts performing in productions such as Alarippu to Moksha and Echoing Anklets, which toured across Malaysia, Singapore, Chennai and New Delhi. Karishma enrolled in Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore in 2011 and was then exposed to different genres of dance and martial arts. Karishma has performed with CHOWK in works such as The Hungry Stones in Avignon, France and From Another Land, staged in Singapore. Karishma is currently a full time dancer with Chowk since January 2016.