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Artists at school


Sonia St-Michel

Performing arts
Classical Indian dance


Sonia St-Michel

Sonia St-Michel is a dancer and choreographer with a foundation in ballet, modern dance and contact improvisation. She began her classical Indian dance training in Ottawa with the Anjali Academy and the Upasana School of dance. From 2005 to 2010 she pursued professional development in India with guru Aloka Panikar. She studied Indian percussion and classical Hindustani vocals and performed at events in Canada, India, and Mexico. She dances with the Upasana company, teaches classical Indian dance at Académie de danse de l’Outaouais, and offers school workshops through MASC. For 4 years she performed with the Mexican group Aztlan. In addition to her artistic work, Sonia has over ten years’ involvement with a cooperation organization, SOPAR, that has led her to travel extensively through India. She has given school workshops across Canada and played a key role in developing a Canada-wide program called Children Changing the World.

As a performer and choreographer, Sonia draws on the aesthetic of classical Indian dance to create a wide range of new works rooted in tradition. Her choreographic work, which has received support from the Québec and Canada art councils, explores interdisciplinary collaborations with literary and visual artists. Her piece Chitrangada, created with storyteller Jacques Falquet, was presented in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Sherbrooke, and Gatineau. In her latest work Aarti, Sonia combines shadow projection and Indian dance. Her practice focuses on cross-cultural experiences, creating spaces, and building bridges between cultures. Her goal with her workshops is to share her belief that art brings people together and promotes compassion and hope. Intercultural experiences are enriching as they allow for a greater respect and appreciation of cultural diversity and a better understanding of the universal values that unite us all.

Proposed approach and type of activities

Indian Dance Workshop

This dance workshop will allow students to explore the aesthetic elements of Indian dance. With a
strong emphasis on footwork, this dance also delves in the realm of symbolism with the use of
mudras (hand gestures and mime). The dance develops coordination, balance, rhythm and
sensibility. The choreographies are divided in 2 categories. Firstly, pure dance items based on
rhythm and set to a melody. Then there are choreographies that tell a story through mime. During
the workshop, students will explore rhythmic exercises whereby the body becomes a percussion
instrument, they will learn the language to mime and each workshop begins with a Yoga-inspired

Students will also explore Indian music and various accessories used for the dance. This workshop is about delving into Indian dance and the students should develop a better knowledge of the form. The techniques explored during the workshop, although they belong to a particular cultural heritage, also represent tools to students deepen their artistic experiences.

Each workshop is adapted and structured in regards to the level. According to the level, the
workshop activities will take place with varied depth and complexity. The duration of the
workshop will also


Other examples of activities

Activity 1: Taal (rhythm)
The word Taal means rhythm, a central aspect of Indian classical dance. In India they say that the sound of the drum is a symbolic representation of the rhythm of life. In this exercise, students will learn to create and maintain rhythms using the body as a percussion instrument. They will learn rhythm through an oral representation of sounds called “Bols,” like beatboxing.

Activity 2: The Mudras
The word Mudra means “gesture” and refers to specific symbolic hand positions used to tell stories. Students will learn several mudras and participate in a short creative improvisation using short Indian stories or elements of everyday life to experiment with the symbolic dimensions of Indian dance (capacity to imagine, to tell stories, etc.).

* This workshop can be offered in conjunction with Marie-France Thibault's workshops "Creating a shadow puppet scenario and performance".

Activity 3: Sculptures in Motion
This exercise explores creating movement inspired by visual art (objects, images, sculptures, paintings from India). Students develop observation skills, a multiplicity of influences, and symbolism.

* This workshop can be offered in conjunction with Marie-France Thibault's workshops "Creating a shadow puppet scenario and performance".

Special conditions

The workshop must take place in a gym or similar space, meaning it should be spacious, clean, and free of desks so we can dance. I require a sound system with CD player or an iPod connection and 2 small tables to hold workshop and materials.

For information

Sonia St-Michel
Phone : 819 205-1848
Email :

Subject to taxes (GST, PST)



Kindergarten, Primary 1, Primary 2, Primary 3, Primary 4, Primary 5, Primary 6, Secondary 1, Secondary 2, Secondary 3, Secondary 4, Secondary 5

Available in

In every regions

Other language(s)

French, Spanish

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