This 33rd anniversary year is made all the more unusual by the cancellation of Sadhana (a Sanskrit word translated as “methodical discipline to attain desired knowledge”), but we’re determined to celebrate our students’ achievements! With that in mind, we’re pleased to announce a virtual Student Showcase series, recurring online the fourth weekend of every month.
This monthly virtual event will not only highlight our students’ recent learning and artistic growth – it will also build their confidence, spark their creativity and allow them to celebrate each other. We hope you’ll watch with us as each weekend as it debuts and share your thoughts.
In January, we’re highlighting Grades 1B, 2B and 3A (children’s classes). Watch anytime starting on the 22nd.
Our Virtual Diwali Festival streamed on Vimeo Nov. 13 –15, featuring a different performance each night from 7 – 7:30 pm CT. The event showcased our past collaborative works and new performances by some of our interns and advanced students that encapsulate the true meaning of Diwali – celebrating the triumph of light over dark, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.
Viewers were asked to consider donating in support of this and other KDT programming on Give to the Max Day (Nov. 19).
Friday, Nov. 13: Intro: Excerpt from Pourush Bhagwati Bandana and highlights from The Ramayana Project
Bhagwati, or Ma Durga, is synonymous to Shakti, who is the personification of beauty, creativity, wisdom, mystery and profundity. Bhagwati Bandana is an invocation to the goddess: Victory to You, O Divine Goddess, My Salutations to You.
The Ramayana Project, a Pan-Asian collaboration produced by KDT in 2006, is based on the Hindu epic “The Ramayana.” Artists from India, Indonesia, Cambodia and Sri Lanka came together in celebration of Southeast Asian dance and music for this project, which attempts to highlight these cultures’ shared traditions and shared roots.
Saturday, Nov. 14: Intro: Asato Ma Sad Gamaya Highlights from Pourush
KDT based Pourush (2015) on award-winning artist and writer Rabindranath Tagore’s dance-drama Chitrangada.It was an international collaboration featuring Kathak choreography by Rita Mustaphi and Chhau choreography by India-based choreographer Ms. Maitreyee Pahari.
Sunday, Nov. 15: Intro: Mangalam Let there be Lights
On Sunday, we presented excerpts from the following collaborative works. KDT collaborated with internationally-renowned composer J.D. Steele to produce and premiere the world’s first African American & Asian Indian dance opera, Karna – The Abandoned Hero (2013).
EKAM – The Supreme Oneness(2011) celebrated the commonalities in all religions. Translated from Sanskrit, it means “one truth, many paths”, meaning there are many ways to access the Truth, or to realize God. Rita Mustaphi collaborated with renowned Gospel singer Robert Robinson and his company of musicians, blending classical North Indian Kathak dance with gospel music and spoken word poetry.
“The Airport”(2012) is a fusion of Kathak and Flamenco in collaboration with Zorongo Flamenco DanceTheatre that debuted as part of our 25th anniversary show, In Retrospect.
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:
A still from Mother/Daughter
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 immigrant experience. With subtle humor, it deftly questions established cultural values. As Semonti says, “I search, I question – we search, we question!”
A still from Chandalika
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 humanity. 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.
While the events are free of charge, we invite you to make a contribution equaling your passion for KDT via our website or GiveMN page after each show.
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!
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.
On February 10, 2019, KDT and the Hindu Society of Minnesota hosted their annual festival, Saraswati Puja and Basant Panchami! This traditional Indian spring festival honors Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music and art, while ushering in the first day of spring with ritual and dance. The event brought the KDT community closer in a morning full of dancing, worship, and togetherness.
Katha Dance Theatre has held an annual celebration of Saraswati Puja and Basant Panchami since 1990, welcoming KDT students, parents, patrons and the community at large to participate. The event is deeply embedded within Indian culture, where it is celebrated throughout the country by both Hindus and Sikhs. Because the festival honors the goddess of knowledge, it is also commonly celebrated within Indian educational institutions. Participants in the festival are often draped in yellow garments, as the color is symbolic of the spring season.
Taking place at the Hindu Temple of Minnesota in Maple Grove, the event’s schedule included a religious ceremony, collaborative art-making, traditional Alpana floor painting, a celebration through dance and music, an array of authentic Indian food, and more. The event attracted members of the Asian Indian community, members of the local Hindu community, and beyond. The day’s schedule was as follows:
8:30 – 9:30 am: Preparation for the ritual (organizing the space for flower and garland making, sandalwood paste, alpana or rangoli)
9:00 am: Worship ritual (Saraswati Puja) guided by temple priests