Community Outreach

“I am equally proud of what we do on stage and off stage, in the community. We believe that dance needs to be accessible to all; everyone deserves the opportunity to experience dance.”
– Rita Mustaphi

Katha Dance Theatre has built a community through dance and movement, and is dedicated to taking dance beyond the traditional studio and theater spaces. In addition to creating new dance works and training the next generation of dance artists, KDT engages in innovative community outreach activities and offers a variety of classes, workshops, and performance experiences. The company believes that anyone, regardless of health or physical capacity, can learn dance. Dance inspires, engages, and empowers, whether you’re a performer or an audience member. KDT’s outreach program sessions take place in schools, community centers, senior centers, corporate offices, libraries and hospitals. Our programs are interactive and uniquely tailored to each session site for the maximum benefit of those served.

Dance. Discover. Transform.

KDT partners with local community organizations serving disadvantaged, challenged, and at-risk youth to perform, demonstrate and engage in movement skills and creative exploration. Our staff consists of KDT company dancers who have years of professional experience in teaching and performing. These company dancers are selected based on their ability to positively interact with, mentor and teach others, thus helping to build confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem.

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Outreach Programs

The unique role of dance in Asian Indian culture, as well as its universal relevance as a resource for transformation, is explored in Dance Connections.

Through dance, video and discussion, we examine the potential of dance to promote individual and cultural identity, bridging connections between diverse groups of people.

Through the practice of Asian Indian dance movements and therapy, this workshop provides connection to the roots of the healing practices. Focus is on the importance of learning other cultures’ dance and healing dance forms as a means of learning contemporary therapy principles. The workshop examines the evolution of dance throughout time and practice, provides a heightened awareness of body/self in relation to one’s community and the earth, and examines the origins of the communal processes used in dance therapy today.

Session: 90 minutes classes, once a week for 6 weeks

Instructors: Rita Mustaphi / Mukta Sathe

This program focuses on non-verbal expression and communication through movement. Human movements are so momentary yet essential to our lives—discover the connections through Kathak dance.

Kathak dance has significant connections between the outer form of movement and the inner intention of the mover. Through its concepts and language, Kathak allows us to capture our intangible experience of movement and express its seemingly inexpressible nature. This classes explores our abilities to experience, observe and describe movement through Kathak. These abilities can enhance the practice of any activity involving the moving body such as dance, theater, performance art, visual art. Movers explore spontaneous gestures, movement, and stillness, following impulses in the moment. Discover the richness that this discipline has to offer as a meditative and spiritual practice, a way to support creative expression, and a forum for building communities.

Dance for students with special needs: this program integrates dance theory, dance education and positive behavior supports. We create movement activities that utilize strengths and meet the needs of children and adolescents who have emotional, behavioral, learning, sensory and/or physical challenges.

Session: 90 minutes classes, once a week for 6 weeks

Instructors: Rita Mustaphi / Mukta Sathe

Building upon research from the National Center For Creative Aging suggesting that active participation in professionally led arts programs can promote health and prevent disease in older adults, Katha Dance Theatre developed Lotus Blossoms, a cultural dance program aimed at improving the quality of life for Minnesota’s aging population.

Who we are is expressed in how we move. Lotus Blossoms uses dance training as an opportunity for Minnesotans to successfully tackle the challenge of living longer and staying healthy well into their golden years. Programs focused on older adults in Minnesota’s urban communities often lack an arts focus, and there are few if any programs that include the traditional arts of another culture. Through a series of weekly classes, KDT engages participants by providing training in low-impact movements, storytelling, rhythm, music and folk arts of India. These classes enrich the participants’ lives, providing them with motion, mobility, balance and coordination. Dance trains the body; it improves physical, mental and spiritual health. Dance develops flexibility and instills confidence. Dance is a stimulating mental activity that connects mind to body. Dance breaks isolation. The basis of dance is rhythm. The essence of dance is joy.

The lotus flower is a very important symbol in Indian culture. It symbolizes the complete purification of the body, mind and soul, and the full blossoming of blissful liberation. We see a profound connection between the ideas behind dance and the lotus flower, which we explore throughout this program.

Lesson plan examples:

Storytelling

This class features a mixture of gentle warm-up exercises, conceptual learning, and the option to watch or participate in dance movement. The concept of storytelling is important to Kathak, which includes facial expressions and gestures as part of movement practices. Students will gain cultural context for the art form, explore dance as a vehicle for telling one’s stories, and appreciate Kathak’s connection to Indian cultural values of hard work, discipline, creativity, and kindness.

Folk Arts of India

This class provides participants with opportunities to learn various Indian folk art traditions and gain knowledge of their cultural context. These include henna painting, floor painting with rice powder, creating clay oil lamps for Diwali (the festival of lights) or create a friendship bracelet to share with others. It draw comparisons between Indian cultural traditions and those of their own, while also improving their hand-eye coordination and social development.

Kathak Dance of North India

This program teaches the classical storytelling and rhythmic dance of North India in a way that can be tailored to suit seniors of all abilities. It provides opportunities for creative expression, promotes understanding and appreciation of other cultures, as well as communication and connection. Beginning with a brief history of the art form, the class includes opportunities to observe or participate in Kathak technique and interactive storytelling.

Each class ends with a group reflection/discussion and snack time.

Session: 60-90 minute classes, once a week for 6-10 weeks

Instructors: Rita Mustaphi / Mukta Sathe

At Katha Dance Theatre (KDT), we believe that creativity is inherent in everyone and that opportunities for creativity should be widely accessible. To KDT, libraries are optimal spaces for such work. They are full of examples of creativity and art in many forms and at the same time offer spaces for creating art of one’s own. They also present the perfect opportunity for KDT to tangibly show that it enriches, educates, and entertains patrons through the arts. At KDT, we believe for these reasons that libraries and artists can support each other. Here are some of our favorite examples of the ways libraries cultivate community art:

  • They stock books and audio/visual media that have the ability to inspire the public
  • They cultivate and facilitate free programming that adds value to the lives of their community members
  • They encourage widespread engagement with diverse, multicultural perspectives through making their media free and easily accessible
As an arts organization with a mission to make a diverse art form accessible, our goals overlap with those of public libraries in significant ways. Here is what we offer as part of a KDT library residency:
  • Children’s story time performances that include interactive dance and storytelling components
  • Folk arts workshops that educate and inspire participants to create their own artwork inspired by Asian Indian wall paintings, potentially to be displayed in a gallery exhibition
  • Weekly art-making sessions for older adults
  • Hands-on workshops for kids on out-of-school days

Visual and performing arts can transform one’s understanding and appreciation of the world in all its cultural diversity. The arts play a vital role in one’s ability to communicate a broad spectrum of ideas. Developing an understanding and appreciation of visual and performing arts therefore promotes artistic literacy. In partnership with public libraries, KDT can offer opportunities for the community to experience art and improve their artistic literacy in different ways.

We would base its programming on what individual libraries can offer in terms of a display wall, an art gallery or informal performing space to be used by KDT artists. As stated above, KDT is interested in working with participants in creating art that are inspired by Asian Indian wall paintings that can be displayed as a gallery exhibition. We are more than willing to work directly with libraries to develop criteria as to the size of the artwork to be displayed, space requirements for an informal performance, the parameters (time period/length) for an exhibition or performance, and other details.

It is a reality of today’s world that budget cuts to school arts programming and the high cost of many local cultural programs often prevents residents from enjoying the arts. As part of the cultural fabric of Minnesota, we at Katha Dance Theatre realized that we needed to make arts and cultural programs accessible on a limited budget. We are ready to work directly with libraries to find the best, most affordable way to provide this programming to the public. For that reason, rates per session may vary.

Contact us via email or by calling (763) 533-0756 to inquire about or schedule a KDT library residency.

Katha Dance Theatre offers an array of master classes, workshops and informative lecture demonstrations that can be developed and tailored to meet the needs of any group, community or educational organization. KDT’s carefully selected programs expose people to the art of dance, offer opportunities to watch and meet the artists, and provide participants with exercise, self-discipline, valuable cultural information, and the tools they need for improved self-expression.

Session: 90 minutes classes, once a week for 6 weeks

Instructors: Rita Mustaphi / Mukta Sathe

Are you hosting a corporate event or celebrating a special occasion for which dance would be the ideal compliment? Katha Dance Theatre will put its creative energies at your disposal with dynamic, festive performances specifically designed to meet your needs.

Kathak is a powerful, elegant art form expressing universal themes, but still transports audiences into another cultural experience. It offers a perfect blend of grace, emotion and creativity that will make your event unforgettable! Visit this page to get a sense of what we do. Contact us to learn more and schedule a performance.