Saraswati Puja 2023

Saraswati Puja and Basant Panchami poster

Katha Dance Theatre, in partnership with the Hindu Society of Minnesota, cordially invites you to a celebration of Saraswati Puja and Basant Panchami. This Hindu festival celebrates and honors the goddess of knowledge, music and art while welcoming the first day of spring.

Since 1990, celebrating Saraswati Puja and Basant Panchami has been an annual KDT event. It welcomes students, parents, patrons and the community at large to honor Saraswati, the goddess of art and learning, as well as to celebrate the beginning of Spring! The event includes a religious ceremony, a folk art display, a celebration through dance and music, authentic Indian food, and more. Through hosting the festival, KDT opens its doors to the community to celebrate together. 

WHAT: Saraswati Puja & Basant Panchami Celebration

WHEN: 8:30am – 1:00 pm, Sunday, January 29, 2023

WHERE: The Hindu Temple of Minnesota (10530 Troy Lane, Maple Grove, MN 55311)

THE SCHEDULE: 

9:00 – 10:00 am: Preparation for the ritual (organizing the space for flower garland making, sandalwood paste, alpana or rangoli) 

9:45 – 10:15 am: Worship ritual (Saraswati Puja) guided by Temple Priests

10:15 – 11:00 am: Community performance 

11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Katha Dance Theatre showcase performance, all KDT dancers are welcome to join

12 – 12:30 pm: Aarti & pushpanjali – the offering of flowers and accepting the blessings

12:30 – 1:30 pm: Prasad & lunch at the first floor (need to buy your own food)

Katha Dance Theatre Announces Premiere of “Kathak E-motion”

Katha Dance Theatre (KDT) is pleased to announce the upcoming world premiere of a brand-new dance work: Kathak E-motion. The show will premiere at the Park Square Theatre in downtown St. Paul, MN April 28 – 30, 2023.

With this production, director/choreographer Rita Mustaphi is creating a classic Kathak work in the vein of those performed for kings and emperors in 18th century India. Kathak E-motion embodies the grandiosity and opulence of Hindu and Islamic royal courts while also exemplifying the art form’s integral expression of emotions, known as Abhinya. Using Kathak’s complex rhythms, intricate footwork, graceful movements, pirouettes and gestural storytelling, KDT’s professional Kathak dancers and guest dancer Souvik Chakraborty of Kolkata, India will recount ancient tales of gods and goddesses, depict stories of love, as well as perform abstract, purely expressive dances.

Kathak E-motion perfectly exemplifies the Kathak tradition, as it not only features thrilling displays of dance mastery that epitomize the form, but will also be set to live music performed by world-renowned Hindustani musicians Kousic Sen of London, UK (Tabla), Chandrachur Bhattacharjee of Kolkata, India (Sitar), Anirban Bhattacharyya of New Delhi, India (vocals), Dr. Pooja Goswami Pavan of Minneapolis, MN (vocals) and Pankaj Mishra of Toronto, Canada (Sarengi). It truly encapsulates the range through which Kathak can convey what Rita Mustaphi describes as the “magic” in the expression of emotions.

The production is the latest in the long list of Rita Mustaphi’s choreographic works, which have spanned a multitude of historical eras, musical genres and diverse cultural influences since KDT’s founding in 1987. Tickets and showtimes forthcoming.
Kathak E-motion, April 28 – 30, 2023. Park Square Theatre, 20 W. 7th Place, Historic Hamm Building, St. Paul, MN 55102. For more information about Katha Dance Theatre and its programming, visit https://kathadance.org.

Tour/Outreach in Greater Minnesota

We were pleased to visit communities in St. Cloud, Mankato and Faribault for a late-summer/early Fall tour. In addition to performing Kathak Yatra – The Journey of Kathak Dance in these communities, we offered select outreach programs in the form of introductory Kathak workshops.

Thank you so much to Paramount Center for The Arts, Minnesota State University, Mankato and Shattuck-St. Mary’s School for having us! See photos of our experiences below.

KDT performers in Kathak Yatra
KDT performers onstage in “Kathak Yatra” at Paramount Center for the Arts. Photo by Anjana Nair.
Outreach workshop at MSU, Mankato
Rita Mustaphi leads a Kathak workshop for students at MSU, Mankato. Photo by Corrie Eggimann.
Rita Mustaphi leads a Kathak workshop for students at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School. Photo by Kalyan Mustaphi.

Celebration of Pandit Birju Maharaj

Available now: On what would have been his 84th birthday, join us as we look back at the late Pandit Birju Maharaj’s unparalleled career and share how much he meant to us!

Please enjoy the event, which also celebrates Saraswati Puja and Basant Panchami––a festival honoring the arrival of Spring.

Watch on Vimeo through Feb. 6!

KDT Company performs Saraswati Bandana

Pandit Birju Maharaj (1938 – 2022)

Photo: Anjana Nair

On January 17, the world lost a monumental figure in the world of Kathak dance.

We are devastated to share that Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj has passed away at the age of 83. In addition to being one of the most revered Kathak artists of all time, Pandit Birju Maharaj was also the longtime guru of Rita Mustaphi and had a huge artistic impact on KDT. We were honored to have him as a visiting master teacher over the years, but the world will remember him for his incomparable talent, wisdom, artistry and leadership.

In the weeks to come, we hope to more formally memorialize the great Pandit Birju Maharaj. For now, the entire KDT family can think back on its personal memories of the Kathak guru and the lasting impression he made on the world of dance, taking comfort in the fact that he will live on through his artistic legacy.