Ganga to Mississippi – A Confluence of Waters

World Premiere Work-in-Progress Performance
June 25 – 27 on Vimeo

Rita Mustaphi on the banks of the Ganges river. Photo: Kalyan Mustaphi

We’re pleased to announce the work-in-progress premiere of an exciting new performance concept two years in the making!

Ganga to Mississippi – A Confluence of Waters is an original dance work that juxtaposes the roles of the Ganges and Mississippi rivers in their respective environments. Spanning continents and cultural traditions, Ganga uses Kathak dance and spoken word elements to highlight the important role that rivers play in our ecosystems, emphasizing the impact of river pollution on climate change and advocating for universal access to clean, drinkable water.

Filmed on the banks of the Ganges and Mississippi riversGanga features original Kathak choreography by KDT Artistic Director Rita Mustaphi, who will perform solo in this in-progress look. As portrayed through Kathak’s elegant lyricism, Ganga is a moving and powerful ode to these majestic rivers and an urgent call for their eternal preservation.

A full filmed performance, set to premiere this August, will include performances by KDT lead dancer/choreographer Rita Mustaphi with Company members Mukta Sathe and Madhulika Srikanth; live music by an ensemble that includes Praful KelkarAbhinav SharmaRitika Ganguly and Shinjan Sengupta; poetic and musical contributions by Sharon M. Day, the Executive Director of Indigenous Peoples Task Force; live vocals by One Voice Mixed Chorus Artistic Director Jane Ramseyer Miller, and more.

The work-in-progress performance will stream free of charge from June 25 through June 27 on Vimeo. Watch below starting at 7pm CT this Friday:

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. 

Showcase 6: Tarana-Sargam / In Retrospect

Photo: Anjana Nair

To everyone who has watched and enjoyed our Showcase Series over the past few months, thank you! We hope you’ll join us for our last hurrah as we celebrate our apprentices and Company and look back at how we made the best of our pandemic year.

We’re so grateful to all members of the KDT family who have helped bring these showcases to life! Thank you to Aaratrika Mondal and Jalpa Mathur for their editing skills, to our teachers for their recorded contributions and leadership, and to our wonderful students for working so hard to make their performances the best they could be.

Watch with us May 28 – 30 on Vimeo!

Join our Virtual Celebration

Our February Student Showcase was a virtual celebration of Saraswati Puja and Basant Panchami, featuring:

  • Saraswati Bandana, an invocation performance by KDT Company dancers
  • Talk by Dr. Anantanand Rambachan, Professor of Religion, St. Olaf College 
  • Kathak storytelling and rhythmic dances by students of Monica Singh Shukla (Adult 1B and 2B)
  • Saraswati Naman, a salutation to Goddess Saraswati, performed by Rita Mustaphi and her students (Youth Intermediate)

Click on the poster above to watch the celebration.

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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. This activity is also made possible by general operating support grants from the McKnight Foundation, the Target Foundation, the Carolyn Foundation, the Dr. Dash Foundation and the RBC Foundation.

Monthly Student Showcase

Photo by Anurag Sharma

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.

Our final showcase celebrated our apprentices and Company. Learn more.

Watch our showcase series:

December
January
February
March
April
May

Virtual Diwali Festival: Nov. 13 – 15

Rakesh Sai Babu and Nivedita Sahni in Pourush (2015) – all rights reserved

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).

Performance Schedule

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.

KDT interns and advanced students performed traditional Diwali dances.

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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

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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 Dance Theatre that debuted as part of our 25th anniversary show, In Retrospect.

A Sanskrit prayer from The Upanishads

Asato ma sad-gamaya,

Lead me from — illusion to reality,

Tamaso ma jyotir-gamaya,

Lead me from — ignorance to knowledge,

mrityorma amritam-gamaya,

Lead me from — death to immortality,

Om shanti, shanti, shanti

Let there be peace…

Have a happy, safe and prosperous Diwali!