A Note About Summer 2021

Image source: cdc.gov

Dear KDT family,

We’ve come to the difficult decision to not resume in-person learning this Summer, meaning that classes will remain virtual through August.

I know this is disappointing to many of you who are growing weary of living your lives online. And I know that we had previously announced our intention to introduce limited in-person education starting this Summer. Due to recent developments, however, we believe this is the only way forward. Our reasons are as follows:

-COVID-19 case numbers: We’ve noticed with concern that case numbers in Minnesota are rising and in order to ensure the continued health and safety of our community, we feel congregating in-person would pose too great a risk––even with strict safety measures in place, as was our intention.

-Teacher vaccination status: As we’ve previously shared, we are committed to not beginning in-person classes until our entire teaching staff is vaccinated, and at this point, that will likely not happen until after Summer classes have begun.

-HVAC system: Again, because COVID-19 is airborne, we are committed to installing an upgraded HVAC system in our studio before in-person classes resume in order to ensure proper airflow. This will likely not occur until later than we had previously anticipated.

As I hope you’re all aware, we did not come to this decision lightly. We still hope to resume in-person classes this Fall (although virtual options will remain for our remote learners), but in order to ensure everyone’s continued health and safety as the pandemic persists, we feel we must keep Summer classes virtual. Let’s all continue to show each other patience and understanding and come together even stronger this Fall!

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions you may have. For example, if you’re interested in using the studio for individual practice time this Summer, we’d be happy to help you arrange that. As KDT students, you have the option of renting the studio for $20/hour.

Either way, thank you all for your continued loyalty and support during this difficult time. We will get through this!

All the best,

Rita Mustaphi
Founder & Artistic Director
Katha Dance Theatre

Showcase 5: Coming April 23

Photo: Anjana Nair

This month, our penultimate student showcase explores the idea of journeys. Through celebrating both our Adult 1A students and some of their more experienced counterparts, we’ll demonstrate how the excitement and promise at the beginning of the dancer’s journey transitions into proficiency and confidence down the road.

Featuring recent KDT student performances at the Bharathotsav International Virtual Dance Competition. Click on the image above to watch starting on April 23!

Watch all of our past showcases here.

KDT Students Win at Dance Competition

We are so proud to share that three talented KDT students have come in first and second place at the Bharathotsav International Virtual Dance Competition in Ottawa, Canada! Sisters Aaratrika and Ayushmita Mondal each won a category (Kathak solo ages 9 – 12 and ages 4 – 8, respectively), while Indra Khariwala placed second in the ages 13 – 20 category.

The competition was organized by The Great India Festival, which for the past ten years has worked to increase awareness of Indian history and culture throughout Canada with the goal of promoting cross-cultural connection and understanding.

In addition to organizing multiple festivals and events throughout the year, TGIF also offers workshops and educational opportunities about a multitude of Indian cultural traditions from yoga, music, dance, and food to the country’s contributions to philosophy and literature. Learn more about them here.

What an amazing accomplishment! Congratulations, ladies! Watch their performances below.

Aaratrika:

Ayushmita:

Indra:

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.