Showcase 6: “Tarana-Sargam”

Photo: Anjana Nair

To everyone who has watched and enjoyed our Showcase Series over the past few months, thank you! We hope you’ll join us for our last hurrah as we celebrate our apprentices and Company with performances of Nritta, or pure Kathak dances that give the showcase title its name. It will also feature a few words of gratitude from our community.

We’re so grateful to all members of the KDT family who have helped bring these showcases to life! Thank you to Aaratrika Mondal and Jalpa Mathur for their editing skills, to our teachers for their recorded contributions and leadership, and to our wonderful students for working so hard to make their performances the best they could be.

Watch with us May 28 – 30 on Vimeo!

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.

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.

Join our Virtual Celebration

Our February Student Showcase was a virtual celebration of Saraswati Puja and Basant Panchami, featuring:

  • Saraswati Bandana, an invocation performance by KDT Company dancers
  • Talk by Dr. Anantanand Rambachan, Professor of Religion, St. Olaf College 
  • Kathak storytelling and rhythmic dances by students of Monica Singh Shukla (Adult 1B and 2B)
  • Saraswati Naman, a salutation to Goddess Saraswati, performed by Rita Mustaphi and her students (Youth Intermediate)

Click on the poster above to watch the celebration.

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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.

Virtual Diwali Festival: Nov. 13 – 15

Rakesh Sai Babu and Nivedita Sahni in Pourush (2015) – all rights reserved

Our Virtual Diwali Festival streamed on Vimeo Nov. 13 15, featuring a different performance each night from 7 – 7:30 pm CT. The event showcased our past collaborative works and new performances by some of our interns and advanced students that encapsulate the true meaning of Diwali – celebrating the triumph of light over dark, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.

Viewers were asked to consider donating in support of this and other KDT programming on Give to the Max Day (Nov. 19).

Performance Schedule

Friday, Nov. 13:
Intro: Excerpt from Pourush
Bhagwati Bandana and highlights from The Ramayana Project

Bhagwati, or Ma Durga, is synonymous to Shakti, who is the personification of beauty, creativity, wisdom, mystery and profundity. Bhagwati Bandana is an invocation to the goddess: Victory to You, O Divine Goddess, My Salutations to You. 

The Ramayana Project, a Pan-Asian collaboration produced by KDT in 2006, is based on the Hindu epic “The Ramayana.” Artists from India, Indonesia, Cambodia and Sri Lanka came together in celebration of Southeast Asian dance and music for this project, which attempts to highlight these cultures’ shared traditions and shared roots.

KDT interns and advanced students performed traditional Diwali dances.

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Saturday, Nov. 14:
Intro: Asato Ma Sad Gamaya
Highlights from Pourush

KDT based Pourush (2015) on award-winning artist and writer Rabindranath Tagore’s dance-drama Chitrangada. It was an international collaboration featuring Kathak choreography by Rita Mustaphi and Chhau choreography by India-based choreographer Ms. Maitreyee Pahari

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Sunday, Nov. 15:
Intro: Mangalam
Let there be Lights

On Sunday, we presented excerpts from the following collaborative works. KDT collaborated with internationally-renowned composer J.D. Steele to produce and premiere the world’s first African American & Asian Indian dance opera, Karna – The Abandoned Hero (2013).

EKAM – The Supreme Oneness (2011) celebrated the commonalities in all religions. Translated from Sanskrit, it means “one truth, many paths”, meaning there are many ways to access the Truth, or to realize God. Rita Mustaphi collaborated with renowned Gospel singer Robert Robinson and his company of musicians, blending classical North Indian Kathak dance with gospel music and spoken word poetry.

“The Airport” (2012) is a fusion of Kathak and Flamenco in collaboration with Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre that debuted as part of our 25th anniversary show, In Retrospect.

A Sanskrit prayer from The Upanishads

Asato ma sad-gamaya,

Lead me from — illusion to reality,

Tamaso ma jyotir-gamaya,

Lead me from — ignorance to knowledge,

mrityorma amritam-gamaya,

Lead me from — death to immortality,

Om shanti, shanti, shanti

Let there be peace…

Have a happy, safe and prosperous Diwali!