Lata Pada, CM (born 1947) is an Indian-born Canadian choreographer and Bharatanatyam dancer. Pada is the founder and artistic director of Sampradaya Dance Creations, a dance company that performs South Asian dance.
She is also the founder and director of Sampradaya Dance Academy, a leading professional dance training institution that is the only South Asian dance school in North America affiliated with the prestigious, UK-based Imperial Society for Teachers of Dancing. Pada founded the dance company in 1990; Pada said that she founded the company because she wanted to showcase Bharatantyam dance as an art form throughout the world. Pada is known as an influential figure in South Asian-style dance in Canada.
Pada, who attended Elphinstone College in Mumbai, trained under the gurus Kalaimamani Kalyanasundaram and Padmabhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan. Pada lives in Mississauga, near Toronto. Pada married geologist Vishnu Pada when she was 17 years old.
In 1985 Lata Pada and her family decided to take an extended vacation to India. On June 23 of that year Vishnu Pada and daughters Arti and Brinda died in the bombing of Air India Flight 182. Lata Pada was not aboard since she left on an earlier date to tour India for Bharatanatyam recitals in Bangalore and across India; Lata was in Mumbai rehearsing for her tour, while her husband and daughters stayed behind in Sudbury, Ontario because Brinda was graduating from high school; afterwards the three flew on Air India 182. Lata Pada became a spokesperson for the families of the victims. Lata Pada expressed disappointment in the Canadian government's investigation of the Air India incident. After the crash she created the dance piece "Revealed By Fire" in remembrance of the incident. Pada received a master's degree in fine arts from York University in 1997.
In December 2008, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the development of Bharatanatyam as a choreographer, teacher, dancer and artistic director, as well as for her commitment and support of the Indian community in Canada. Lata was also recently appointed as adjunct professor in the Graduate Faculty of Dance, York University, Toronto.
On January 9, 2011, Pada was conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, by the President of India. This award, instituted by the Government of India in 2003, recognizes outstanding contributions by overseas Indians in the diaspora. Lata was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award for her exemplary contributions in the field of dance, as well as for her un-relenting efforts in seeking a public inquiry into the 1985 bombing of Air India flight 182. Pada is the first performing artist to be given this prestigious honour.
On June 18, 2012, Pada was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, for her outstanding contributions in promoting South Asian dance in Canada.
'A Tribute to our Master', was the facilitation ceremony held at The Shanmukhananda hall, was arranged on 1st, March, 2012, at 6-30 pm. in connection of the 80th birth day of Guru.Shri. Kalyana sundaram pillai, by the disciples of 'Shri. Rajarajeshwari Bharatha Natya Kalamandir' Matunga, Mumbai. 'Smt. Lata pada' was one among the several established artists of the Vidyalaya. A Bharatanatyam program was conducted by Smt. Vizy Prakash, Artistic Director, Shakti School of Bharata natyam, Los Angeles, USA. 'Chi. Mythili prakash', her Disciple and daughter, gave a scintillating performance of Bharata natyam on the occasion.
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