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Dance from India
Stories from Africa

Two special matinee performances for schools were performed at La Cité Francophone that featured:

  • Odissi Dance, a vibrant Indian classical dance form performed by Anannya Biswas

  • Stories from Africa by Edmonton performer and storyteller Tololwa Mollel

What to Expect


This exciting in-person performance enhanced students' learning in topics of arts appreciation, storytelling through movement & spoken word, and theatre etiquette. It incited learnings about the diverse cultures that make up Canada.

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Culture & Traditions

Students were introduced to captivating stories from African culture and the enchanting world of South Asian classical dance!

Storytelling through Movement & Spoken Word

Students were entranced by stories told entirely through dance & spoken word. 

Appreciation for Art

Arts education connects students with their own culture as well as with the wider world, in a way that is much more exciting than reading from a textbook!

What Students Learned

Anannya Biswas

At 17, an age when most of us are uncertain in mind and thought, Anannya Biswas already knew what she wanted. The desire for adventure and the unquenching drive for knowledge took her to Canada, one of the most humanitarian economies of the developed world. In an unknown land, she carved a niche for herself, pursuing a degree in business and marketing. Her hard work and efforts paid off and she was rewarded with a highly successful career as a business development executive within Canada’s gas and oil sector.

But before she was a corporate high flyer, Anannya was a dancer. Her youth was dedicated tothe art of Odissi, one of the oldest art forms in India and her eternal love. After eight years away from her homeland and her art, she decided to come back to her roots to relive her one true passion. Anannya decided to immerse her self once more into Odissi, wholeheartedly and sans any hesitation.

As a part of the senior ensemble of her dance school, the OdissiNatya Sala, Anannya has performed across India. Her performances, which are many in number, are memorable and exhibit her proficiency in the form. Her most notable performances were at the esteemed Khajuraho Dance Festival (2016),the Delhi Youth Festival (2016) and a special choreography from her guru– Agnikanya (Lady of Fire) at the Rabindra Mandapin Bhubaneshwar, Orissa (2016).

Her dedication and hard-work are parts of her personality that reflect in every aspect of her life. She continues to perform at venues across Canada to share her love for Odissi with her international audiences. She practices intensely, everyday, to improve on her form and out-perform herself. At present, Anannya is based in Calgary, where she continues to pursue her professional life and aspires for an MBA in finance even as her long standing love affair with
Odissi continues to thrive and be an integral part of her existence.


Tololwa Mollel

With his roots as a theatre actor and dramatist in both Tanzania and Canada, Tololwa is a writer and performer of stories. He performs for all ages, sometime solo, and other times with co-performers. He has taken part in Thousand Faces festivals over the years as a storyteller and story performer, actor, and playwright. Two of his plays have been performed at the Thousand Festivals in the past: “Anthem of Life”, in a workshop production in which he acted; and “Urashima Taro”, a play adaptation of an old Japanese story. “Anthem of Life” is a play adaptation of part of Anthem of the Decades, a massive poetic work by the late Mazisi Kunene, a distinguished South African poet, scholar, and folklorist. The work features and reimagines the elaborate and labyrinthine creation mythology of the author’s Zulu people of South Africa. A revamped, expanded, and re-envisioned version of that workshop play will become Part One of a trilogy adaptation, to be completed within the next few years, that will cover the vast entirety of Anthem of the Decades, with planned productions at future Thousand Faces Festivals.   


Tololwa is also author of internationally published books for the young and the young at heart: 18 in English, and 5 in Swahili, the national language of his native country of Tanzania in East Africa. Among his books are the Governor-General’s award-winning The Orphan Boy; My Rows and Piles of Coins and Big Boy, both winners of the Alberta Writers Guild children’s books award; and From Lands of the Night. Grazing Back Home is his latest children’s book that resulted from his collaboration with musician Garth Prince and painter and illustrator Jason Blower. The book is a multimedia creation that combines story, art, music, and audio narration; the story is narrated by Obianuju Mollel. Some of Tololwa’s books and stories have been translated into several Asian, African, and European languages including Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, and Afrikaans; Korean; and Serbian, Norwegian and Spanish.


Besides his children’s books, Tololwa has published nonfiction work and several short stories for adults, and has written several plays, and a body of stories for his solo performances. He has also written stories for performances by others. One such story was The Twins and the Monsters, which he wrote for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and which the ESO has performed, with narration and music, numerous times over the years. The story was also performed by orchestras across Canada and in the U.S. Tololwa has written and performed stories in Swahili for a Swahili radio program by Edmonton-based Kiswahili Learning Centre, a program designed for Swahili speaking listeners in North America and beyond.


Tololwa has been spreading his passion for story, performance and writing to the young and old through story workshops, performances and presentations in Alberta schools and communities.

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