Toronto Art Cafe Where You Can Learn Any Art Form
A coincidental rendezvous with Ashely changed this couple's destiny | Aswin
On Feb 06, 2015

On February 2 renowned dancer and choreographer Daksha Seth lit the lamp to a couple's five year long dream. It saw the end of this long wait and the shaping of a simple idea; a cafe for art.

It was back in 2010 that this doctor couple and art lovers, Dr. Anuja Krishnan and Dr. Nisheen, migrated to Toronto, Canada looking for greener pastures. There they met someone special. A coincidental rendezvous with Ashely Nicole Powell, a lawyer and an enthusiast of music and dance.

This meeting made them realise the scope and magic of their own little hometown. She turned out to be their mentor. In Anuja’s own words, “She made us realise that our Toronto was the place we left behind; Trivandrum.”

Before long they packed their bags and returned to Kerala with an idea. “When we visit a cafe, we get an array of dishes. Our aim was a cafe which provides an array of art forms, a place where folks of any age can learn any art form.” Thus was born the ‘Toronto Art Cafe’.

Dr. Anuja, former TV anchor and ‘Vanitharathnam’ reality show winner recalled how difficult it was for her to find a place to learn Kalaripayattu for the reality show. She is of the opinion that Kalari is something girls must learn these days.

“But it's difficult for women to find a place to learn Kalari in South Kerala. Most of the Kalaris only accommodate male students. But, it’s different in North Kerala. I was fortunate since my cousin, a Kalari expert, was around to teach me,” adds Anuja. 

The doctor couple initially had plans to start a Kalari. But it was soon clubbed to the art cafe idea. The new facility built over their residence has a 1000 Sq.ft exquisite wooden dance floor with restrooms and change rooms.The facility can also be rented out as a practice space. “In fact, we have got a couple of requests already for using the space,” says Nisheen.

Toronto Art Cafe is envisaged as a place where you can learn any art form of your liking. Although, if the number of students are low for a particular class, then the charges will go up so as to make it feasible. The classes will commence during this weekend with dance classes in four categories; hip-hop, contemporary, classical and Bollywood.

An excited Anuja says, “We will also begin musical instrument and classical music classes. Many Carnatic musicians have approached for teaching posts. We are in a process of narrowing down the candidates. The response has been overwhelming.”

A separate space for martial arts and Yoga is under construction which will be the traditional ‘Kuzhi Kalari’. For now, the classes will be conducted on the dance floor. “Kalaripayattu has got the maximum registrations. Kung-fu and Karate too will be taught,” informs Anuja.

So there you go. Yoga, music, musical instruments, dance, martial arts and even magic. You name it, they have it.



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