Lata Pada, CM (born 1947<ref></ref>) is an Indian-born Canadian choreographer and Bharatanatyam dancer of Indian descent. Pada is the founder and artistic director of Sampradaya Dance Creations, a dance company that performs South Asian dance. She is also the founder and director of Sampradaya Dance Academy, a leading professional dance training institution that is the only South Asian dance school in North America affiliated with the prestigious, UK-based Imperial Society for Teachers of Dancing.<ref>Walker, Susan. "Call it South Asian dance HQ." The Toronto Star. May 30, 2008.</ref><ref name="Kopun">Kopun, Francine. "When the only thing left is hope." The Toronto Star. August 25, 2007.</ref> Pada founded the dance company in 1990; Pada said that she founded the company because she wanted to showcase Bharatantyam dance as an art form throughout the world.<ref>"“B2” a collaboration between Sampradaya Dance Creations and Ballet Jorgen." Harbourfront Centre. Retrieved on December 10, 2008.</ref><ref>"Sampradaya Dance Creations." Canada Council for the Arts. Retrieved on December 10, 2008.</ref> Pada is known as an influential figure in South Asian-style dance in Canada.<ref name="CalcuttaTelegraph">"Daring and innovative." The Telegraph. Retrieved on December 10, 2008.</ref>
Pada, who attended Elphinstone College in Mumbai,<ref>"P-196." Air India Commission, Government of Canada. September 17, 2007. Retrieved on June 24, 2009.</ref> trained under the gurus Kalaimamani Kalyanasundaram and Padmabhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan.<ref name="CalcuttaTelegraph"/> Pada lives in Mississauga, near Toronto.<ref name="Curry">Curry, Bill. "Air India bombing could have been prevented." The Globe and Mail. May 9, 2007.</ref> Pada married geologist Vishnu Pada when she was 17 years old.<ref>Radhika, V. "Dancing To Transform." Boloji. December 4, 2004.</ref>
In 1985 Lata Pada and her family decided to take an extended vacation to India.<ref>"Explosive Evidence." Mayday.</ref> On June 23 of that year Vishnu Pada and daughters Arti and Brinda died in the bombing of Air India Flight 182.<ref name="Kopun"/><ref name="Curry"/> Lata Pada was not aboard since she left on an earlier date to tour India for Bharatanatyam recitals in Bangalore and across India; Lata was in Mumbai rehearsing for her tour, while her husband and daughters stayed behind in Sudbury, Ontario because Brinda was graduating from high school; afterwards the three flew on Air India 182.<ref>"The Kanishka Bombing, 20 years on Lest we forget." The Sunday Times. Sunday July 10, 2005.</ref> Lata Pada became a spokesperson for the families of the victims.<ref>"Ottawa asks Rae to head Air India inquiry." CBC News. Wednesday November 23, 2005.</ref> Lata Pada expressed disappointment in the Canadian government's investigation of the Air India incident.<ref>Struck, Doug. "For Canada's Police Agencies, 'A Multidimensional Failure'." The Toronto Star. Friday March 18, 2005. A20.</ref> After the crash she created the dance piece "Revealed By Fire" in remembrance of the incident.<ref>Mahesh, Chitra. "A voyage of discovery." The Hindu. Friday December 5, 2003.</ref> Pada received a master's degree in fine arts from York University in 1997.<ref>Carlyle, Cathy. "Michael Stevenson responds." York University Gazette. Wednesday May 24, 2000. Volume 30, Number 32.</ref>
Pada married Hari Venkatacharya in September, 2000. Venkatacharya is president of Nexus Strategies, and a former managing director of Nytric Business Partners. He is a past president of TiE Toronto. He currently serves on the boards of the Mississauga-Halton Local Health Integration Network, and the Ontario Science Centre, and was on the boards of Sampradaya Dance Creations and the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences. They both met while founding the South Asian advisory committee at the Royal Ontario Museum in 1995, where they raised over $3 million Canadian dollars for Canada's first permanent South Asian gallery.<ref>"Lata Pada - Choreographer." Narthaki. 2001. Retrieved on January 17, 2009.</ref>
In December 2008, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the development of Bharatanatyam as a choreographer, teacher, dancer and artistic director, as well as for her commitment and support of the Indian community in Canada.<ref></ref> Lata was also recently appointed as adjunct professor in the Graduate Faculty of Dance, York University, Toronto.
On January 9, 2011, Lata was conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, by the President of India. This award, instituted by the Government of India in 2003, recognizes outstanding contributions by overseas Indians in the diaspora. Lata was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award for her exemplary contributions in the field of dance, as well as for her un-relenting efforts in seeking a public inquiry into the 1985 bombing of Air India flight 182. Lata is the first performing artist to be given this prestigious honour.
On June 18, 2012, Lata was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, for her outstanding contributions in promoting South Asian dance in Canada.