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KATHAK

 

Kathak is one of the main genres of ancient Indian classical dance and is traditionally regarded to have originated from the travelling bards of North India referred as Kathakars or storytellers. These Kathakars wandered around and communicated legendary stories via music, dance and songs quite like the early Greek theatre. The genre developed during the Bhakti movement, the trend of theistic devotion which evolved in medieval Hinduism. The Kathakars communicate stories through rhythmic foot movements, hand gestures, facial expressions and eye work. This performing art that incorporates legends from ancient mythology and great Indian epics, especially from the life of Lord Krishna became quite popular in the courts of North Indian kingdoms. Three specific forms of this genre that is three gharanas (schools), which mostly differ in emphasis given to footwork versus acting, are more famous namely, the Jaipur gharana, the Benaras gharana and the Lucknow gharana.

The roots of this dance form trace back to Sanskrit Hindu text on performing arts called ‘Natya Shastra’ written by ancient Indian theatrologist and musicologist Bharata Muni. It is presumed that the first complete version of the text was completed between 200 BCE to 200 CE, but some sources mention the timeframe to be around 500 BCE and 500 CE. Thousands of verses structured in different chapters are found in the text that divides dance in two particular forms, namely ‘nrita’ that is pure dance which comprise of finesse of hand movements and gestures, and ‘nritya’ that is solo expressive dance that focuses on expressions.

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ODISSI 

Odissi is one of the eight classical dance forms of India, originated from the state of Orissa. It is considered a very graceful, lyrical and devotional dance form that celebrates the bhakti bhava. According to architectural and textual evidence, it was earlier performed in the temples of Orissa by Maharis, female temple ritual specialists from Orissa who used to sing and dance inside the temples, especially the Puri Jagannath temple. They performed songs from Gitagovinda, a Sanskrit text about the love between Krishna and Radha, written by Jayadeva in the XII century AD. Another significant tradition in the history of Odissi is that of gotipuas, young boys dedicated by their families to temples or akhadas (gymnasiums), where they trained in acrobatics, singing and dancing. Their performances were held outside the temple and open to the public. Postures and movements from Gotipua dancing were stylised and codified in the Odissi vocabulary according to the temple sculptures of Bhubaneswar and Konark.

Odissi dance is composed according to the ragas and talas of Odissi music. The theoretical foundations of Odissi trace to the ancient Sanskrit text Natya Shastra; its existence in antiquity evidenced by the dance poses in the sculptures of Kalingan temples, and archeological sites related to Buddhism and  Jainism. The oldest of these sites are the Jain cave-temples of Udayagiri and Khandagiri (II century BC) where scenes of music and dance are carved in the walls.

Postures and movements of the Odissi vocabulary originated from the temple sculptures of Bhubaneswar and Konark.

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SUFI MYSTICAL DANCE

 

Entranced by a 700-year-old ritual, the whirling dervishes perform a Sufi dance, steered by rhythmic breathing and chants of “Allah”, as they seek to become one with God.

Their white robes rise and fall in unison, spinning faster and faster. The right palm is raised to the heavens to receive God’s blessings, which are communicated to earth by the left hand pointing to the ground. As they continue turning in a spiritual trance, the dancers float between the two worlds. They are now in a deeply personal and intense form of meditation.

During the elegantly simple performance, rotating with skirts swirling in a choreographed constellation of dancers, the dervishes are believed to become a conduit for divine blessings. “While whirling, his arms are open, his right hand directed to the skies ready to receive God’s beneficence, looking to his left hand turned towards the earth,” “This is his way of conveying God’s spiritual gift to the people he looks upon.”

Their voices echo as they repeatedly call out to Allah, spinning faster and faster. Egos and personal identities abandoned, they attain a spiritual perfection known as fenafillah. 

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DANCE TEACHERS

ANUREKHA GHOSH

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MAYA SWATI DEVI

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ISHANI DEVI

Kathak Dance

Anurekha Ghosh is an internationally acclaimed BBC award-winning Indian Classical Kathak dancer. Her technique and style is a combination of “tradition and modernity”. She has shown her excellence in Choreography be it in the classical or contemporary genre. 

She has been trained in classical Kathak dance, specializing in the Lucknow Gharana since the age of 4 ½ years under the guidance of Smt. Meera Majumdar and Smt. Mousumi Sen in Calcutta, India.  Anurekha moved to the United Kingdom in 1992 and took further training in Kathak with Padmashree Guru Shri Pratap Pawar.  She received extensive training under the renowned Kathak exponent Begum Nahid Siddiqui from Pakistan.  She is also receiving  advanced ‘talim’ from Tabla exponent Pt. Dinanath Mishra of Benaras Gharana and Smt. Madhumita Roy, a senior Kathak exponent and Guru.  She is fortunate to receive in-depth guidance and ‘talim’ from the finest Kathak exponent and Guru Smt. Durga Arya. She learnt the art of Kalaripayattu, a South Indian Martial Arts at CVN Kalari, Kerala under Guruakkal C V Satyanarayanan.She has trained in vocal music from Smt. Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta in Kolkata.

Anurekha has performed in the major theatres and Festivals all over the world as a soloist or with her company productions.  

Anurekha received the awards for Arts & culture category presented by the Asian women Achievement Awards in collaboration with BBC, The Lisa Ullman Scholarship for Dance and Movement, the Best choreographer for The Place Choreodrome at The Place Dance Theatre UK, Nritya Shiromani, Naatyasaaradhi, Natya Damru, “Tujhe Salaam” by ILEAD (Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata), Nritha Vilasini, Rex Karmaveer fellowship from ICONGO instituted by United Nations, Amravati award, Pandit Arjun Mishra award and Padmavati award, Kala Bhushan award to name a few.

Anurekha collaborated with internationally renowned choreographers like Padmashree Kumudini Lakhia, Akram Khan (UK), Nahid Siddiqui (Pakistan/UK), Shobana Jeyasingh (UK), Mark Baldwin (UK), Andre Gingras (Holland), Héla Fattoumi and Eric Lamoureux, the renowned French contemporary choreographers and artistic directors of the National Choreographic Centre of Franche Comté and heads of the Via Dance Company, France.

She has danced in the Michael Howell film “Frankenstein” choreographed by Mark Baldwin, screened on BBC.  Her performance is also featured in the film The Sufi World. She has given many performances on BBC, Channel 4, French Television, and Indian Television.  BBC world has televised her classical Kathak solo performance of Festival of FEZ in a program called Destination Morocco. 

She has been conducting dance workshops and master-classes in Primary and Secondary schools, Special Needs schools, Performing Arts colleges and University all across the globe. 

Sufi Mystical Dance

Maya (Monica) was born in Vinci, Leonardo's da Vinci birthplace, near Florence,TUSCANY, Italy,

Since her childhood she always been attracted to mystical and spiritual path, transmitted by her grand mother with spanish and nomadic origin. At the age of 14 she read the Bhagavad Gita, and this book opened the doors for the most mystical journey in her life: INDIA

She is graduated at the famous institute of Art in Florence, with a Laurea in History of Art and Costume design at the UNIVERSITY OF FLORENCE, Italy. With a Master at the Central Saint Martins in London in

Costume & Fashion design.

From 2013 till 2017 she studied INDOLOGY at the UNIVERSITY of STUDIES MILANO to deepen her knowledge of Indian Culture, Vedic Astrology with Dr. David Frawley, Indology at Yogic studies

academy UK .

Maya is a recognized CID UNESCO, international dance council, Dancer and teacher of  Kalbeliya

Rajasthani dance, Sufi Qawwali dance.

Her journey in dance started at the age of 8 with medieval dances of Tuscany and took her to an

infinite life learning experience.

Since 1998 she travels to India and all over Asia on a “soul journey” learning Yoga and Indian dances.

She learned Khatak

with Guru Pandit Arjun Mishra in Lucknow, Pandit Birju Maharaj's eldest disciple

and met her present Guru Anurekha Ghosh in Kolkata. She studied mystical Sufi Qawwali dance with spiritual Masters in Ajmer, Rajasthan.

In her dance career she performed solo and with her dance group in front of celebrities and royal families in Italy and India including: Amithabh Bachchan ( the star of Bollywood ) , Indian Consul Mr. SK Verma, Director of incredible India Gobhind Mr. Bhuyan , the princess of Jaipur, Mr. Bhawan Singh, the Italian consul in New Delhi , the Indian ambassador in Rome, the Rathore Rajput family of Jaipur, the Princess of Kuwait, Mayor of Milan and the Maharaja of Udaipur Sri Arvind Singh from whom she received the prestigious ARVIND SHAHI recognition, as embassador of Indian culture in Italy .

She has performed at the prestigious Udaipur LAKE PALACE and UDAIPUR CITY PALACE for the exclusive Holika Festival that every year organizes the Maharana in Udaipur, JAIPUR CITY PALACE, FORT Pachewar , FORT Khempur , ITALIAN INSTITUTE OF CULTURE end ITALIAN EMBASSY in New Delhi. In October 2010 and 2011 she performed at the italian tour of the great Guru AMMA , Amritanandamayi ,One of the few dancers admitted to her international event.

She took part in TV program, RADIO, SPOT, ADVERT SHOOTING, MOVIES with her dance group MAHARANI in Italy and internationally.

Odissi Dance

Lucrezia Ishani Ottoboni Devi is a professional dancer, specialized in Indological studies.

She completed her PhD in Performative Arts from La Sapienza University, Rome in 2018 and published her thesis in 2022. Her academic research focuses on the relationship between tradition and contemporaneity in Odissi dance-theatre from an ethnographic perspective developed during her long field researches in India. In 2013 she graduated in Languages and Civilizations of Asia and Africa for International Communication at the University of Turin; she carried out all her university internships in India, during which she received highly specialized Odissi teaching under the supervision of Lingaraj Pradhan, master of international fame, exponent of the parampara of guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. She is an experienced and passionate Odissi dancer trained under guru Pradhan in Bhubaneswar (Orissa) since 2011, and a certified yoga teacher (RYT 500) with over ten years of teaching experience and advanced training in Hatha Yoga. She performed all over Italy and India with group and solo performances. She has a master’s degree in Yoga Studies from Ca’ Foscari University, Venice. Lucrezia also deals with the divulgation of Indian culture, philosophy and arts through courses, conferences, seminars and in-depth meetings throughout Italy.

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ROYAL DANCE

Retreat

DEVIPUR, Rajasthan, India

DEVIPUR, under the Artistic direction of Maya Swati Devi,

offers Indian Dances Royal Retreat and Courses.

An enchanting royal experience discovering  India in a unique and unforgettable way.  Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, the participants will enjoy rural culture, the old traditions, witnessed the costumes, experiencing the richer hospitality and the richer environment of Rajasthan.

Our dance retreat were featured on the dance india magazine

https://thedanceindia.com/the-royal-dance-retreat-at-rajasthan/

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