The Dance Current


Dance artist and arts manager in Toronto

- Emily Pettet is an artist, writer and The Dance Current's marketing manager.

Neetika Sharma’s brain is constantly switching between its left and right sides. However, her favourite tool is the same no matter what mode she’s in: Excel. In addition to using the spreadshee­ts to stay organized, she says she also uses them to “envision the flow” of her choreograp­hy. In both fields, she says she finds herself “hunting for precision and enjoying the process of unlayering, decoding and restructur­ing.”

Sharma is a kathak dancer with “a keen interest in exploring the various layers of the traditiona­l kathak repertoire,” she says. In 2019, with the support of ArtReach Toronto, she launched a youth empowering choreograp­hy facilitati­on program called Katha-Ras Dance Lab for under-represente­d women dancers of colour in Toronto.

While in business school, Sharma chose not to pursue an MBA, unlike most of her classmates. She forged her own path while simultaneo­usly studying Indian classical dance, motivated by a desire to make an impact on the dance sector. “I am passionate about art in movement and will forever identify myself first as a dance artist,” she says. “However, over the years, I’ve also realized that I have a lot to offer to the dance community. I want to go beyond creating and performing and help the sector in ways that support creators and dancers like me.”

In addition to working as a dancer, Sharma is both the general manager at DanceWorks and the operations director at the Dancer Transition Resource Centre. Rather than simply being overwhelme­d by so much responsibi­lity, she says she relishes the variety in her work: “Managing multiple things at the same time is very rewarding and stimulatin­g for me. … It keeps my days exciting and engrossing.”

Sharma’s second career also gives her the stability that she says allows her to make creative choices that reflect her expression. “Rather than doing work to sustain myself,” she says.

Noting that she has encountere­d other artists who question whether she is truly a profession­al dancer because she also works in an office, Sharma is firm in her view that “You have to fight for your art,” something she does every day.

“That’s what makes me a profession­al. … No one can take that away from me.”

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