Kathak India

Dance is a hidden language of the soul. There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. It is this unique expression, existence of the life form within me which has translated into grace, rhythm and action in my body and soul through dance. Dance is the art form in which human movement becomes the medium of sensing, understanding and communicating ideas, feelings and experiences. Music and dance have always occupied the most place in my life. My parents ingrained the seeds of Indian classical music and dance when I was barely 6 years old. It has been a long and fruitful tutelage of some of the finest gurus, Guru Jai Kishan Maharaj ji, Guru Smt. Ruby Mishra ji and Shri Tribhuwan Maharaj ji, Guru Ramani Ranjan Jena and my vocal gurus Manindro Ghoshal ji and Haridas Chattopadhyay ji. I have been fortunate enough to have trained under these illustrious gurus, imbibing their qualities such as a passion for dance and an ear for good music, the ability to express my thoughts, emotions and beliefs through graceful and elegant movements. Over the years, I have learnt Rabindra Nritya, Odissi and some contemporary dance forms but Kathak dance mesmerised my soul after watching a magical performance of the Kathak Maestro Padma Vibhushan Pt. Birju Maharaj ji. I was instantly drawn to his intricate footwork, beautiful expressions and his Nritya. It was as if I didn’t choose Kathak but Kathak chose me. I am highly indebted to my Guru Smt. Ruby Mishra ji for choosing me as a student and disciple of Birju Maharaj Parampara and making me conscious of the graceful dancer within me, explaining the subtle nuances of bhava, laya and nritya in Kathak. These rudiment and finesse inculcated by my gurus over the years has significantly helped me professionally and as a teacher too.

SHARMISTHA

“With those elegant footwork and gravity-defying turns, Kathak opens a fantastical world before a dabbler, who is sure to fall deeply in love with its mesmerizing ways.” I was introduced to Kathak at a tender age. Though, quest for higher education made me leave behind my passion for dance, yet years later, when I wanted to break the monotony of work and life and get back to doing something creative, Kathak came naturally to me. I cannot adequately describe the way dance makes me feel. For me, dance is sacred; dance is therapeutic, and probably the best mode of self-expression, But in particular, I have been fascinated by majestic history, intricate footworks, subtle abhinaya, the dignity and finesse of body movements, spontaneity and that extempore quality of Kathak. At Birju Maharaj Parampara and under the able guidance of my Guru Smt. Ruby Mishra, my fascination for this form of art grew into a passion. Ruby ji is instrumental in making me embark upon a journey so beautiful and made me realize why I have to walk my way through life when I can dance. My Guru, with her charismatic charm, her poise, and impeccable style of teaching, is every student’s delight. She makes even the most intricate nuances of Kathak so simple and easy to learn. It will forever be my endeavour to serve my Guru, the Parampara and this brilliant form of art, Kathak, with full devotion, passion and enthusiasm. While I continue to gather and treasure the teachings of my able Gurus, I would forever seek their blessings and unending support. Kathak has given expression to my thoughts, wings to my dreams and language to my soul and a new dimension to my life that I will forever cherish.

RICHA

I have been learning Kathak since 2005. I love Kathak and enjoy fluidity and natural movements. It really helps me to express myself. I think for me Kathak is a part of my culture. So, I think it is important to learn about my culture and keep the tradition going. People say, “We are born to dance” and say, “I am a born dancer.” When I perform, I feel ecstasy. My heart feels that happiness cannot be bounded. Moreover, dance provides an active, non-competitive form of exercise that gas the potential to positively effect my physical health as well as mental and emotional well-being. The relationship of health and various types of dance is of a great interest nowadays, especially Kathak. Many of my fellow colleagues at Birju Maharaj Parampara eventually want to become a professional dancer while I have desire to establish my own academy thus passing the legacy and tradition of Kathak on to the next generation. I am sincerely thankful to my Guru Smt. Ruby Mishra. I would wish every Kathak inspirer to join Birju Maharaj Parampara to get true bliss of Kathak.

MUSKAN

From a very early age, I was involved in various dance forms; mainly folk dances of India, Bollywood, jazz, but lately, I realized that I need to enhance my dancing skills by learning a classical dance and that’s how I was introduced to Kathak only a few years back. At this juncture in my life, I met Guru Smt. Ruby Mishra. Meeting her was a turning point in my life and as I grew closer to her, my life got linked very closely to Kathak. Under her supervision I am learning Kathak since last 6 years. Initially it was only part of my weekend schedule, but with time, it became part of my life. In spite of running a dance school, marriage at an early age, and motherhood, I continued with Kathak. It keeps me grounded and gives immense satisfaction to my soul in spite of all ups and downs of life. Today Kathak and I are inseparable. I don’t see this dance form as a part of my life anymore, but as a life itself. This artform is a source of being closer to God and firmly believe that my Guru, Smt. Ruby Mishra helps me connect with him. With her thorough guidance, I have been able to express my emotions through dance, which were difficult otherwise.

POONAM

These lines aptly summarize what dance means to me. People ask me why I chose to be a dancer. I simply say, " I did not choose, I was chosen to be a dancer". My journey with dance started at the age of 6, when dance only meant, learning steps to me. With time I realized it was more than that. It was more than dancing itself, it was living. Since then, I can't remember a day without dancing in happiness, in sadness and in illness. I have danced through every emotion. Engineer by profession, dance was always a feeling of flight for me, to which Birju Maharaj Parampara has given wings. The institution is not about learning dance but finding yourself - both emotionally and spiritually, this is one aspect of the institute I identify and connect with. I dance everyday with my Guru, and those are the times of self-losing and self-realization, both at the same time. The time when you feel connected to the Supreme. This feeling of divinity, this feeling of amazement and enlightenment, is what Birju Maharaj Parampara has given me. Gurus, Smt. Ruby Mishra ji and Pt. Jaikishan Maharaj ji not only nurture every student who comes to them but also guide them in evolving life in a true guru- Shishya Parampara. I bow my head to my Guru maa and Guruji.

PRATIBHA

People say " we are born to dance" and I say " I was a born dancer and I will die one". As a child dance was all about learning movements to rhythm and beats. Under the flag of "Birju Maharaj Parampara”, I learnt how to connect myself spiritually and emotionally to dancing. This could not have been possible without immense support and unequivocal from my gurus Smt. Ruby Mishra ji and Pt. Jaikishan Maharaj ji. Their constructive criticism and tutelage have helped me achieve a significant level as a dancer. The fervour and zeal to learn and rise in the field of dance has increased manifolds with my guru's presence in my life. Being a part of this institution has not only been illuminating but has also helped me in understanding the holy bond between a Guru and Shishya. Being with my Guru has inspired me to pursue dance in its true spirit and also share the knowledge that I have been privileged to gain. " I dance as I feel the power of music which let every physical element of the world disappear with the rhythm".

PRERNA