Bageshree Vaze is a versatile and multi-talented Indo-Canadian artist. As a dancer and choreographer, she strives to create and present work that reflects her cultural influences. She was initially trained in the style of Bharatha Natyam in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and also trained in Hindustani (North Indian) classical vocal music with her father, Dr. Damodar Vaze. After completing her Arangetram (graduation) in Bharatha Natyam, Bageshree received a fellowship from the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute to further her studies in India with the late Guru T.K. Mahalingam Pillai. After moving to Ontario in 1996, Bageshree began to create dance works which combined her knowledge of South Indian dance and North Indian music, and she explored collaborations between Indian dance and Western forms, such as ballet, modern and West African dance.
In 1998, Bageshree began training in the North Indian classical dance style of Kathak, with the living legend Pandit Birju Maharaj and his son Jai Kishan Maharaj. As this form uses Hindustani music, she was able to relate better to the rhythmic and musical language of this style, and has felt most comfortable choreographing and performing in Kathak. As a result, much of her work in recent years has drawn from the vocabulary of Kathak. Bageshree completed a Master’s degree in Dance from York University in 2000, and her final thesis was a choreography using Kathak language.
In 2001, Bageshree also began training with renowned vocalist Veena Sahasrabuddhe, and she released a debut album, Bageshree, which combined Indian classical aesthetics with modern pop music and electronica. Bageshree was named ‘ubbharta sitara’ (rising star) by MTV India in February 2004, and the video for her single ‘Deewana’ won the 2004 Annecy, France film festival award and the 2006 ReelWorld film festival award for Outstanding Canadian Music video. The track ‘Oh Meherabaan’ was picked up for airplay on BBC radio, and her track ‘Bhakti’ was included on a compilation by the Japanese label Dakini records. Songs from Bageshree continue to be played on CBC national radio, and her video airs regularly on MuchMoreMusic.
Bageshree strives to preserve the integrity of traditional dance and music, but to create new work that is reflective of her experience. Tabla is an integral component of Kathak dance, and much of her current work is done in collaboration with her husband and tabla artist Vineet Vyas. Her second CD, Tarana, was a landmark album of songs composed, arranged and adapted for Kathak dance. The CD was released under the name Khanak by Times Music in India, and is used widely by dancers around the world. Popular selections include ‘Tarana,’ ‘Lucknow’s Jewel’ and ‘Vinayak.’
As a writer, her articles have been published in Maclean’s, The Toronto Star, Canadian Theatre Review, The Economic and Political Weekly and several other publications.
In 2009, Bageshree was featured as a guest artist with the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, and in 2010, she performed at Pt. Birju Maharaj’s ‘Vasantotsav’ dance festival in New Delhi. She was also a co-recipient of the 2010 K.M. Hunter Award in Dance. In May 2011, she premiered her contemporary Kathak choreography entitled ‘Avatar (9)’ at the Enwave Theatre on May 27 and 28, 2011 as part of Harbourfront Centre’s NextSteps Dance Season. This production explored the ‘Navarasas’ or 9 emotions in Indian dance, and featured Bageshree as a choreographer, composer and singer (the soundtrack is available on ITunes). In 2012, Bageshree completed her new CD ‘Ragas and Rhythms,’ choreographed and performed in a new dance production ‘Damaru/Mudra,’ which premiered at the Harbourfront Centre in May, and performed a new Kathak dance piece ‘Twilight,’ which was commissioned by Dusk Dances. She also launched her ‘Spectrum’ series of multi-disciplinary programming in partnership with the Harbourfront Centre. In 2013, the ‘Spectrum’ collaboration with Harbourfront Centre continued, featuring three dance programs and two music programs, and five hands-on workshops. In 2014 Bageshree choreographed and performed a new work entitled ‘In My (Dis)Place,’ commissioned by the CanAsian Dance KickStart Festival. Created under the mentorship of Toronto Dance Theatre Artistic Director Christopher House, the work was premiered in April at the Dancemakers Centre for Creation, with music by Phil Strong. In 2015, Bageshree will choreograph and perform in a full-evening production entitled ‘Paratopia’ from April 23-25 at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre. The production is part of the DanceWorks 2014/15 Mainstage Season.
Bageshree Vaze is an Indo-Canadian dance artist and musician. Raised in St. John’s, NL, Bageshree initially trained in Bharatha Natyam, and studied vocal music with her father, Damodar Vaze. She later trained in Kathak dance with Jai Kishan Maharaj in New Delhi, and studied vocal music with the renowned Veena Sahasrabuddhe. Living in Toronto since 1996, Bageshree has three CDs to her credit, including Tarana, an album of music for Indian dance, which was released in India by Times Music under the name Khanak. Bageshree holds an M.A. in Dance from York University. In 2009 Bageshree was featured as a guest artist with the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, and in 2010, she was awarded the K.M. Hunter Award in Dance. Bageshree has performed in major festivals in Canada and abroad, such as the CanAsian International Dance Festival and the ‘Vasantotsav’ festival in New Delhi. In May 2011, Bageshree completed a solo contemporary Kathak choreography entitled ‘Avatar (9)’ which premiered as part of Harbourfront Centre’s NextSteps Dance Season. In 2012, Bageshree completed her new CD ‘Ragas and Rhythms,’ and premiered a new dance production ‘Damaru/Mudra’ in May 2012. Bageshree also launched her ‘Spectrum’ series of multi-disciplinary art at the Harbourfront Centre through her organization Pratibha Arts, and premiered her Kathak dance piece ‘Twilight’ at Dusk Dances. In 2014, Bageshree choreographed and performed a new work entitled ‘In My (Dis)Place,’ commissioned by the CanAsian Dance KickStart Festival. Created under the mentorship of Toronto Dance Theatre Artistic Director Christopher House, the work was premiered in April at the Dancemakers Centre for Creation, with music by Phil Strong. In 2015, Bageshree will choreograph and perform in a full-evening production entitled ‘Paratopia’ from April 23-25 at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre. The production is part of the DanceWorks 2014/15 Mainstage Season.