Welcome to KDT’s 32nd Season!

Shaamya – Of Equality: January 5, 2020

J.D. Steele. Photo by John Wagner.

Of equality I sing:
Where all barriers and differences
Among people are vanished,
Where Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians
Have mingled together.
– An excerpt from Kazi Nazrul Islam’s “Of Equality”

Inspired by the poem “Of Equality” written by Bengali revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899 – 1976), Katha Dance Theatre (KDT) is excited to announce a new thematic dance presentation: Shaamya – Of Equality.

Of Equality infuses gospel and R&B music composed and performed by local musician and composer J.D. Steele (pictured at left) and poetry by Somali poet and playwright Ifrah Mansour (pictured at right) into original Kathak choreography inspired by Nazrul Islam’s poetry. Steele, an accomplished musician who has performed with Prince, Mavis Staples, and others, will be accompanied by pianist Billy Steele, drum artist Abhinav Sharma, vocalist Tonia Hughes. Mansour’s poem “I am a Refugee,” which she will perform during Of Equality, was featured in PBS’s Online Film Festival in 2018. She is also known for her autobiographical play How to Have Fun in a Civil War, which depicts her recollections of her childhood in war-torn Somalia. With this new work, our intent is to engage people of all cultures in valuable discussions about parallels between the experiences of today’s communities of color and those expressed by Nazrul Islam in his time.

Ifrah Mansour. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Select KDT dancers will perform a work-in-progress version of Of Equality at The Southern Theater on January 5, 2020. Remember that this is just a preview of what’s to come; the full production is set to debut at St. Paul’s Park Square Theatre next November with four performances, including a student-only matinee.
WHAT: Shaamya – Of Equality: Work-in-Progress Performance
WHEN: January 5 at 2 p.m.
WHERE: The Southern Theater, 1420 S. Washington Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55454
RUNTIME: 40 minutes + 20 minute post-show discussion
TICKETS: Gen. admission: $10, youth/students: $5. (Or, pay what you can–in person at the box office only). Go here to learn more: https://southerntheater.org/shows/shaamya-of-equality

Local Tours: February and May, 2020

Photo by Erik Saulitis.

KDT will travel to Mankato and St. Cloud next year to perform Ritu – The Seasons and engage in community outreach activities. Ritu, which originally debuted in 2018, is a vivid portrayal of the Indian seasonal cycle, expanding and subverting American expectations. Based on the lyrical poem “Ritusamhara” by the great Sanskrit poet Kalidasa, Ritu depicts the six Indian seasons within beautiful and intricate Kathak movement, celebrating nature’s beauty through Kathak’s grace and subtlety. As always, our touring performances are open to the public. Please mark the following dates in your calendar, noting that ticket prices and showtimes are yet to be announced.

  • February 12: Minnesota State University – Mankato’s Ostrander Auditorium
  • May 22: This performance has been canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope to reschedule soon.

What’s New at KDT

We are pleased to announce that we have acquired our own dance studio! Located in St. Louis Park, the studio will be used exclusively by KDT’s company and school. The move is a long time coming for us—we have been working toward opening our own studio for several years in order to increase our accessibility and independence as an organization. We are so excited to have a home base that’s all our own!

The studio officially opens on the first day of Katha Dance School’s spring session! This means that starting on March 10, all future KDT classes will take place at our new, single studio location.

Finding the studio: We are located at 5806 W. 36th Street, St. Louis Park, MN 55416. Follow the link for detailed directions.

Parking: A free parking lot is located in back of the building. There is also limited street parking available in front and to the side, although all dancers are encouraged to enter the building through the back entrance in order to avoid wearing street shoes on the dance floor. The entrance is clearly marked with the KDT logo.

Accessibility: A handicap accessible ramp is located at the back of the building, for ease of entrance.

Look below for images of the new space!

Check out KDT on MN Original


Thank you to TPT and MN Original for featuring us in your 4/20/17 episode! Per their description: “Founder of Katha Dance Theatre Rita Mustaphi gives historical and contemporary context to Kathak dance, the ancient North Indian Classical dance form.”

Click here to view the lesson plan that goes along with the video clip.