Lata Pada conferred Order of Canada 

January 6, 2009 
Acclaimed dancer/choreographer/teacher recognized for contributions to the development of South Asian dance and commitment and support of Indo-Canadian community 

Dancer/choreographer Lata Pada, Founder and Artistic Director of Sampradaya Dance Creations, has been appointed as a new member of the Order of Canada.  She has the distinction of being the first South Asian artist to receive this award.  

Pada is also the Founder/Director of Sampradaya Dance Academy, a premiere professional dance training organization.  Trained under distinguished gurus in India, K Kalyanasundaram and Kalanidhi Narayanan, Pada has had an extensive career as a Bharatanatyam soloist with over 1,000 performances in prestigious dance festivals worldwide.  Pada has made Canada her home since 1964; she holds a MFA in Dance from Toronto's York University.  
Under Pada's visionary leadership, Sampradaya Dance Creations has established itself as an internationally acclaimed dance company recognized for innovation and excellence.  Pada brings a contemporary worldview to her award-winning inter-cultural and inter-disciplinary creations, a large number of which have been created in collaboration with leading Canadian and international choreographers, composers, designers, playwrights and musicians.  She has received several awards and honours for her contribution to the arts in Canada, including the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Toronto Sanskriti Sangha, the 2006 Best Teacher Award from the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana, the 2003 Professional Woman of the Year Award from the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, the 2000 New Pioneers Award and the 1995 Mississauga Arts Award. 

A leading Canadian arts advocate, she is frequently invited to present at international dance conferences and symposia.  As a motivational speaker, Pada regularly talks about her life, creativity and collaboration in the arts. 
"Lata Pada's artistry, choreographic versatility and visionary leadership have enabled her to establish South Asian classical and contemporary Bharatanatyam as a world art form in Canada.  In addition to performance, her commitment to the arts in Canada has engaged her in a range of professional and community based initiatives both nationally and regionally," states Board Chair Margaret Manson.  "We warmly congratulate Lata on receiving the Order of Canada, in recognition of her significant contributions to the cultural life of Canadians."  
Pada's Sampradaya Dance Creations is a dynamic Canadian dance company, internationally recognized for forging new paradigms in Canada's dance milieu.  Founded in 1990, it is committed to showcasing Bharatanatyam as a world art form that explores contemporary, innovative and diverse movement styles and themes; and spans a diverse range of solo and ensemble choreography.  Envisioning the Company to take an expanded role as a dance development agency led her to foster and advance the formation of the South Asian Dance Alliance in Canada (SADAC) and the production of the 2009 DanceIntense conference in Toronto with Sampad, the Birmingham based development agency for South Asian Arts. 

Sampradaya Dance Creations was awarded the 2007 Mississauga Arts Award for Best Established Performing Group.  The Company and Sampradaya Dance Academy operate from a 3,500 square foot state-of the-art facility in Mississauga; a vibrant hub for training, creation and the presentation of South Asian arts.   

Following the terrorist bombing of Air India 182 in June 1985, in which she lost her husband and two daughters, Pada has been an active spokesperson for the families of the victims.  She has been a strong advocate for an inquiry into Canada's worst act of terrorism and has pushed for changes in legislation regarding aviation security, law enforcement and Canada's judicial system.