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Gitanjali Kolanad

Gitanjali Kolanad was involved in the practice, performance, and teaching of bharata natyam for more than forty years in Europe, America and India, including London, New York, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Toronto, Tokyo, New Delhi, Bombay, and Madras. Critics praised her performances of the classical repertoire, while her contemporary choreographic work won new audiences for bharata natyam.

Her work was often multi-disciplinary, arising out of collaborations with artists from other disciplines: director Phillip Zarrilli, video/installation artists Ray Langenbach and Riaz Mehmood, poet Judith Kroll, violinist Parmela Attariwala, to name a few. Her performances incorporated folk and ritual

forms of dance, theatre and martial art forms from South India. She created eight major full-length danceworks, many of which she performed all over the world. She stopped performing in 2007.

Gitanjali co-founded IMPACT - Indian Martial and Performance Arts Collective of Toronto, which

teaches the Indian martial art form of kalaripayat to at-risk youth in underserved neighbourhoods. From

2013 to 2017, she was Professor in the Department of Art, Design and Performing Arts, at Shiv Nadar

University, Greater Noida, India, teaching and developing a fully-fledged performing arts program.

Most currently, she has been the Artistic Associate directing the Kickstart program of CanAsian Dance

A writer, Gitanjali has written numerous articles on aspects of Indian dance for well-known Indian publications, such as Open Magazine, Seminar and New Indian Express. Her short story "The American Girl" won second prize in the 2008 CBC Literary Awards and was long-listed for the 2008 Frank O’Connor and her 2020 novel ‘Girl Made of Gold’ was shortlisted for Tata Novel of the Year award.


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