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KickStart 2023 Commissioned Choreographers

Yui Ugai & Ashvini Sundaram

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Yui Ugai

Co-Choreographer / Performer

Ashvini Sundaram

Co-Choreographer / Performer

Yui Ugai is a dance artist originally from Hiroshima, Japan. Based in Toronto, Canada as a freelance artist, she has worked with 15 professional dance companies and toured nationally and internationally for a decade. She majored in drama at Takarazuka North High School and studied dance and music at Kobe Jogakuin College in Japan. She holds a BFA and an MFA in Dance from York University. Yui is interested in searching for an emotional journey through movements and also her movement research involves looking into traditional Japanese performing art forms and exploring to incorporate them into her creation.

Ashvini Sundaram (pronounced uh·sh-vi-nee su-ntha-rum) is a dance artist and choreographer trained in bharatanatyam. Born in Singapore, raised in Vancouver and trained in Delhi, Ashvini explores questions related to embodied knowledge, cultural identity and decoloniality. Her work, Art of Time, created through York University's MFA program, uses cultural knowledge about cyclical time to disrupt the much-reiterated view of dance as ephemerality. Ashvini is a humble recipient of federal, provincial, and local awards such as the BC Arts Council Individual Arts Award, Chrystal Dance Prize from Dance Victoria and Professional Development Grant from Canada Council for the Arts and BC Arts Council. 

Yui Ugai with Paper Art by Christine Kim photo by Jani Autio, Photo of Ashvini Sundaram by Chris Randle


About the Work

home l a n d

What is home? Yui Ugai and Ashvini Sundaram confront patterned relationships with their cultural environments, traditions, and practices in their investigation of home. Born in Hiroshima, Yui seeks to embody elements of traditional Japanese dance in her pursuit of new, hybrid Japanese contemporary aesthetics. Born in Singapore and raised in Canada, Ashvini embodies traditional South Indian dance in order to stay in touch with her Tamil identity. Living in intersections, Yui and Ashvini help each other to face their respective embodied memories of severance and resilience. They search for female humanity, commonality and connectedness, tethering themselves to new, shared elements of home.

Photo of Yui Ugai and Ashvini Sundaram by Jessica Stuart


Yui Ugai and Ashvini Sundaram

Music Composition

Diego Marulanda


Anita La Selva

Outside Eye

Anita La Selva and Gitanjali Kolanad

Costume Design

Michiko Inoue

Lighting Design

Jareth Li

Creative Credits

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Anita La Selva


Anita La Selva is an award-winning director, dramaturg, actor and creator and is the 2019 recipient of the Gina Wilkinson Award for Emerging Female Director. Her focus as an artist is in creating inter-disciplinary, inter-cultural work that reflects the world we live in today.  Her unique style of combining text with movement, dance and music has made her a popular director, co-creator and consultant on numerous inter-disciplinary projects.  She holds an MFA in Directing from York University and has been an artist mentor through the Toronto Arts Council and The Buddies Emerging Creators’ Unit. Anita teaches regularly in the York University and Seneca College Acting Programs.

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