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Kathak Kendra

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Neha Rathod
Kathak Kendra

Kathak Kendra is reckoned as one of the leading training institutions in Kathak dance in the country. The Sangeet Natak Akademi established this Kendra in 1964 and the Kendra started to offer priceless courses in Kathak dance as well as in other allied arts. The exact location of Kathak Kendra is at Bahawalpur House, Bhagwan Dass Road in New Delhi. The institution, dedicated to the teaching and promotion of Kathak as a dance form, was once originally an elementary unit of the prestigious Sangeet Natak Academi, however now it is one of the leading dance-teaching institutions in India. In addition to Kathak Dance, Kathak Kendra also offers courses in related arts such as Hindustani vocal music and Pakhawaj. The Kendra has its staff teachers of eminence in various disciplines. Kathak Kendra has a Production Unit that strives to enrich the repertoire and technique of Kathak through several experimental works.


Shambhu Maharaj received the highest award of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 1967. After the death of Shambhu Maharaj in 1970, his nephew Birju Maharaj, who was associated with the institution from its inception, and a noted Kathak dancer and guru in his own right, became the Head of Faculty and also remained the Director of the institution for many years. Birju Maharaj started adapting the dance, which was till now staged for small gatherings in temple courtyards or Mehfils to one catering to large gatherings in the modern proscenium theatre, and created several noted ballets in his period. Gradually what was essentially a solo-dance, moved towards expression in group performances. Over the years the repertory wing, formerly known as 'Ballet Unit' has created notable production of Kathak ballet, with evolved stage and costume design as well as elaborate music, Taj ki Kahani (1966) was choreographed by Krishna Kumar, and had music by Amjad Ali, Shan-e-audh (1968), Kumara Sambhav and Dalia all choreographed by Birju Maharaj and with music by Dagar Brothers. Several of the productions, like Govardhan Leela, Machan Chori, Phag Bhara employed mythological themes and gave them modern presentation. Birju Maharaj performed these ballet productions all over the world, giving the traditional dance form, worldwide recognition. Many former students of the Kendra, also joined the repertory wing as registered staff.


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Neha Rathod
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