Rita Mustaphi Wins Nari Shakti Award

Photo: Erik Saulitis

On March 8, 2021, KDT Founder and Artistic Director Rita Mustaphi was given the Nari Shakti award for women’s empowerment by the Urvashi Dance, Music, Art and Culture Society in New Delhi, India!

Rita was selected for the award alongside other accomplished gurus by a panel of jurors from the Indian Council of Cultural Relations. The award recognizes her decades of leadership as a “benchmark for the females of India.”

Fittingly, the virtual awards ceremony came on this year’s International Women’s Day. Watch the event here.


In other recent news, Shilpi Roy, one of our interns, won the Jury Award at the Urvashi Society’s international talent competition, “Sur Taal Hunaar ka Kamal.” 

The competition featured a variety of talented dancers from around the globe, and we are so proud that Shilpi was recognized for her hard work and dedication.

Watch her final performance, choreographed by Rita Mustaphi, as part of the competition’s “grand finale” here.

Celebrate Holi with our March Showcase

Background art by Lukas Gojda/Adobe Stock

In March, our student showcase celebrated Holi with a variety of new and archived Kathak performances. Featured performers include our Adult 3B and 4B students.

Holi is a festival rooted in Hindu mythology with a traditionally fun and playful atmosphere. It honors the Hindu god Krishna, welcomes the beginning of Spring and celebrates the triumph of good over evil with a bonfire and a festival of colors. With this showcase, we hope to evoke the spirit of the event in a virtual space.

The event was available on Vimeo starting March 26. In addition, you can watch all of our previous showcases here.

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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.

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.

Announcing “MASK,” a New All-Virtual Project

Rita Mustaphi

We are pleased to announce that KDT Artistic Director Rita Mustaphi has been awarded a Creative Support For Individuals grant by the Minnesota State Arts Board to fund an exciting new virtual project.

MASK is specifically designed for the internet age. Ms. Mustaphi describes it as “a dance of change – creating social awareness about the catastrophic physical & emotional tolls of 2020, and reimagining the situation as an opportunity for positive changes, attaining desires & achieving dreams.” The project is in keeping with KDT’s history of using dance and performance to convey emotional truths and address important socio-political issues.

According to the MSAB, “Creative Support for Individuals is designed to help Minnesota artists and culture bearers adapt to changes in their working environment caused by the global pandemic … This grant program aims to help Minnesota artists and culture bearers maintain their visibility and financial sustainability by using their creativity and connections to community.”

The social justice-focused project is set to debut as a streaming performance later in 2021. Read about the other grantees and their projects here.

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Rita Mustaphi is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. 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.

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