MA, Nipun (Kathak Dance), Bhathkhande University, Lucknow INDIA
Kathak Kala Academy was founded in 1998 by the visionary Kathak artist and teacher Rachana Upadhyay. She is a well-known teacher and choreographer in the field of Kathak. She studied Kathak for nearly fifteen years under the strict discipline and guidance of the distinguished Gurus, Dr. Pure Dadhichi, Purnima Pandey and Subhash Dixit. Mrs. Upadhyay received her Nipun, Masters in Kathak, from the renowned Bhatkhande Music University, Lucknow. She has also received a Prabhakar degree from Prayaag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad. She has given numerous performances throughout India and has appeared in many prominent Kathak productions, including those on Doordarshan Television. Mrs. Upadhyay has also directed numerous Kathak dance drama like Yashodhara, Aaj Bruj mai Faag Bahaar, Asht Naika,Geet Govind,Ritu Basant aayo re etc. for stage and television in India. She has received many awards, such as those given by Kalakar Sangam, Munaal Sanskrit Manch, and Kala Niketan.
Present days, she is very devoted to the cause of making Kathak a popular art form for the local Indian community. Her dream is to break through the cultural barrier and make Kathak accessible to everyone. Her students of Kathak Kala Academy are the medium through which she hopes to accomplish this goal. Her dedication as an educator is evident when she is in class with her students. She teaches with so much patience and love. Each and every student gets some individual attention. Her teaching begins with three basic principles of Kathak that is Tayari(systematic practice), Layakari(rhythm),Bhav and khubsurti(expressions and beauty).The style of Lucknow Gharaana is apparent when her student dance with graceful, soft and delicate movements .
Kathak kala Kendra students have given performances through out the greater Los Angeles from ISCON to Valley Hindu Temple to JPL to Pacific Islander Museum. The performances have become an annual fixture at the local events, such as Independence Day, Janamastami, Diwali, Archana Charity, etc. Her school also present full length show every other year. This year it will be held at California State University, Northridge in the Plaza de Sol Performance Hall on February 17, 2008, from 4-6pm.Over seventy performers with colorful costume, ankle bells, mesmerizing music, intricate footwork and pirouettes will enthrall the audience. Some of her students have become good in all three aspects, nritta, nritya, and natya, of Kathak dance. They will present both temple style with stuti, bhajan and Govardhan leela and court style with Tarana, thumari, and thaat.
Kathak dance is one of the oldest dance forms in the world. Kathak dance began thousands of years ago in the ancient temples in India and later thrived in Moghul and Hindh kings royal. Kathakwas an art of soloist, but with the advent of performances on large stage, Kathak performances today feature a troupe of many dancers. Kathak paints a delightful tapestry of music, rhythm, expressions, dance, footwork, and spins. Even though it takes decade to master Kathak, Rachana’s students are doing wonders. For more information, visit contact page or call Rachana Upadhyay at (818) 272-1912.