Crystal, MN—National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $84 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2020. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $15,000 to Katha Dance Theatre (KDT) for a 2021-22 tour of their critically acclaimed dance work Kathak Yatra: The Journey of Kathak Dance. This is one of 1015 grants nationwide that the agency has approved in this category.
“These awards demonstrate the resilience of the arts in America, showcasing not only the creativity of their arts projects but the organizations’ agility in the face of a national health crisis,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “We celebrate organizations like Katha Dance Theatrefor providing opportunities for learning and engagement through the arts in these times.”
“We are grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for its support of bringing our work, Kathak Yatra, to rural communities of Minnesota,” says KDT Artistic Director Rita Mustaphi. “This grant award is deeply meaningful to us since with this funding we will be able to not only offer performances but also enrich each community with the arts and culture of India. Much gratitude to the NEA!”
Kathak Yatra follows Kathak’s artistic and cultural evolution through time, beginning with its inception in Hindu temples, through its evolution as a form of entertainment for kings and emperors, and culminating in its contemporary multicultural incarnations. It explores Kathak’s duality as both classic and modern. Through this tour, KDT hopes to further its mission to make Kathak accessible and relevant throughout Minnesota.
For more information on this National Endowment for the Arts grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
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At KDT, we have been continually amazed by your positivity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we also know that social distancing is leaving many of us feeling isolated and anxious. That is why we’re announcing a unifying, community-building online dance experience: a virtual benefit concert series in support of our vital programming! Dress up, enjoy the beauty of dance, and even move along in your living room! Our offerings include:
Soul to Sole: Featuring the soulful musical stylings of legendary singer Robert Robinson and members of the Twin Cities Gospel Choir, this uplifting and inspiring show honors the importance of overcoming differences in order to achieve collective peace and harmony.
Mother/Daughter – On the Border: This dance/theater work features stories from KDT artistic director Rita Mustaphi and her daughter Semonti. It delicately balances honoring Rita’s upbringing in Kolkata, India and her family’s assimilation into American culture. With subtle humor, it deftly questions established cultural values. As Semonti says, “I search, I question – we search, we question!”
Sufiana – The Sufi Ecstasy: featuring live music composed by 2016 McKnight Fellow Dr. Pooja Goswami Pavan and choreography by Rita Mustaphi, Sufiana captures the Sufi concepts of spiritual devotion and love of all mankind. It is uplifting, vibrant, and ecstatically alive!
Chandalika – The Untouchable Maiden is based on a century-old dance opera by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. In telling the story of a woman condemned to be an outcast at birth, Chandalika uses dance and text to examine the ways in which we fight discrimination, grapple with spiritual conflict, and find love and salvation against unimaginable odds.
Due to COVID-19, we are simply losing out on much-needed income from performances, education and outreach that go toward sustaining our organization. Your gift, no matter the amount, helps us continue on our mission to preserve and promote this gorgeous dance form. It also provides a sense of normalcy to the dancers whose lives have been thrown off-balance by this devastating pandemic.
Now is the perfect time to show your support in the form of a tax-deductible gift. Remember: anything helps!
Thank you so much for your continued support of KDT, and enjoy!
KDT has made the following changes in response to the pandemic:
- KDT’s office and studio locations have closed until further notice. All employees are working remotely and all classes have moved online via Zoom.
- We have made the difficult decision to cancel our upcoming performance of Black Candle, which was scheduled to take place at the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts in May.
- Our tour stop to St. Cloud has been canceled due to Paramount Center for the Arts’ decision to postpone all scheduled events through May. We hope to reschedule this performance as soon as possible.
- We have decided to postpone Sadhana, our annual school showcase. The performance will take place this Fall on a date TBA.
- Throughout May, we offered a Virtual Benefit Concert Series in support of our programming. We created the event with the intention to bring the KDT community together to bond over a shared love of the arts. For one week, a benefit version of one of our recorded performances streamed on Vimeo, donation-optional. All shows are still available to watch in full here.
- In conjunction with our venue, the Park Square Theater, we have decided to postpone our performance of Shaamya – Of Equality to November of 2021. Final dates forthcoming.
This post will continue to be updated as the situation evolves. To our beloved community members, thank you so much for your continued support of KDT during these uncertain times!
Please note that this was written before KDT made the decision to move all classes online until further notice.
With concerns about COVID-19 on the rise, I wanted keep the entire KDT community apprised of the precautions we are taking in response to the outbreak. As I’m sure you are aware, the health and safety of our Company dancers, students, parents, patrons and staff is our absolute top priority. We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to follow the advice of the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health. Here are the steps we have already taken:
- We are regularly cleaning and sanitizing our studio and office spaces.
- We are continuing to hold classes as scheduled, but are asking students and instructors to wash their hands thoroughly before class and engage in as little direct contact with each other as possible.
- With full knowledge that every family is likely taking all necessary precautions against the virus, we are encouraging any student who feels sick or whose family member(s) feel sick to stay home from class.
- We will gladly exchange or refund any tuition fees if we decide to cancel future classes.
- We have made the difficult decision to postpone our upcoming performance of Black Candle, which was scheduled to take place at the Cowles Center in May. A decision about our school showcase performance, Sadhana, is forthcoming.
Because the virus is so easily transmitted through person-to-person contact, large gatherings of people are becoming less safe. Should the virus continue to spread in Minnesota, we will take the necessary steps to postpone or cancel other public performances and events and will be in touch when that occurs.
This virus poses serious questions that performers and arts organizations across the globe are currently grappling with. In all cases, the safety of our community takes precedence over our artistic goals. We are hopeful that more drastic steps will not be necessary, but are preparing as well as we can for the possibility of such circumstances. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. Thank you so much for your continued support of KDT!
– Rita Mustaphi, Artistic Director of Katha Dance Theatre
NOTE: Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, our performance scheduled for Friday, May 22 at the Paramount Center for the Arts, St. Cloud has been canceled. All ticket holders will be contacted by the Paramount Center with information regarding refunds/exchanges. We apologize for any inconvenience.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Photo: Erik Saulitis