Dedicated Company dancers are offered teaching positions at KDT’s school after completing their teacher’s training and apprenticeship. As the Director and Master Teacher, Rita Mustaphi oversees KDT’s teaching staff and curriculum. She also periodically invites Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj and his company to travel from India to conduct master classes and workshops for the KDT community.
Rita Mustaphi, Director
As Founder and Artistic Director of Katha Dance Theatre, Rita Mustaphi has choreographed more than 50 evening-length works that have been performed locally, nationally and internationally. Her notable performances include a show at New York’s Carnegie Hall and several International Kathak Dance Festivals in New Delhi. Mustaphi is a roster artist for COMPAS, Community Programs in the Arts as well as a teaching artist for the Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts. She has taught advanced KDT classes since she founded the school in 1987.
Mukta Sathe learned Kathak from her guru, Sanjeevani Kulkarni, in Nasik, India. She won the national “Swar Sadhana” competition while touring throughout the country. As a company member, her performance credits with KDT include annual fall concerts since 2005. She has studied with Rita for over fifteen years, attended the International Kathak Festival in Chicago (2004) and participated in workshops conducted by Kathak Maestro Pandit Birju Maharaji, Kumudini Lakhia and Saswati Sen. Mukta teaches Kathak classes for youth and adults.
Sarika Haris began her dance journey in India, where she learned Bharatanatyam, the South Indian classical dance style. Her passion for dance has motivated her to learn Kathak under Rita Mustaphi since 1999. She has attended master classes with Pandit Birju Maharaj & Saswati Sen and performed in numerous KDT productions, including the lead role in Chandalika, the Untouchable. She teaches youth classes for KDT.
Monica Singh Shukla began training with Rita Mustaphi at age 7, and joined KDT as a company member in 2006. She has studied Kathak with masters like Pandit Birju Maharaj and Ms. Saswati Sen. Her select performance credits with KDT include The Hungry Stones (2018) Ritu – The Seasons (2017), Sufiana – the Sufi Ecstasy (2016), Rubaiyat – Life in a Day (2014), Karna – the Abandoned Hero (2013), and In Retrospect (2012). Monica has been a KDT instructor off and on since 2012.
Nivedita Sahni first studied Kathak at the Jaipur school of Kathak dance and the Kathak Kendra School in New Delhi. Locally, she has studied under Rita Mustaphi for over six years and completed workshops with Pandit Birju Maharaj and Ms. Saswati Sen. Her performance credits with KDT include The Hungry Stones (2018) Pourush – the Masculine (2015), Ritu – The Seasons (2017), Sufiana – the Sufi Ecstasy (2016), Rubaiyat – Life in a Day (2014), and Karna – the Abandoned Hero (2013). She joined KDT’s teaching staff in 2020.