Tag Archives: Kathak

Shambhavi Dandekar: Online Classes!

Shambhavi Dandekar, the brilliant and beautiful Kathak exponent and founder of SISK school announces that SISK has begun a  Distance Learning Program in Kathak. The program began just three weeks ago. This is an amazing opportunity for dancers who wish to learn Kathak. It opens access to dancer and guru Shambhavi Dandekar’s knowledge and technique to those who wish to learn no matter where they are. Currently, the program is for beginners.

Shambhavi Dandekar

Here are some of the details about the Distance Learning Program in Kathak. (1) Every video class will be taught by world renowned Kathak exponent, Shambhavi Dandekar. (2) Students will learn one class per week at any time convenient to them. (3) Students will experience Gurukul style one-on-one learning. (4) SISK Distance Learning Program will offer a “Nuance Class” every other month to practice with Shambhavi Tai and adjust nuances. (5) Kathak certifications will be available from time to time. (6) This is an ongoing course. Students will graduate to the next level every two years.


SISK sends this message: This is your chance to learn this beautiful dance art form from any corner of the world. The Distance Learning Program brings the Guru-Shishya together by overcoming the physical distance and time barrier.”

Shambhavi Dandekar looks forward to hearing from you! For more information kathakshambhavi@gmail.com


October 15, in Santa Clara, CA, Shambhavi Dandekar presented a concert of Kathak dances performed by expert performers including herself and guest artists as well as performances by her students. This was a brilliant program: the students added a great deal to the presentation while the artists were able to explore the further reaches of Kathak both as movement art and storytelling. It was a delightful excursion through the realms of the classical dance art from ancient times in Northern India.

Shambhavi Dandekar, Kathak artist and director of SISK, the Shambhavi Institute of Kathak, of California and India

The program opened with extraordinary works performed by Tejaswini Sathe, Director of SISK in India and sister in law of Ms. Dandekar. As Ms Dandekar had injured her shoulder and needed to restrain her movements, Tejaswini flew in from India. A dance element that was most noticeable was her eloquent arm movement. In Kathak, the essence of the dance is usually the complexity of the rhythms beat out by the feet. Ms Sathe’s movement was expressive throughout her body. She opened and defined the space through which she moved by the graceful, generous use of arms, while traveling through the stage space still keeping rhythms in her feet, arms and head. She performed Devi Stuti, a tribute to the feminine energy in the universe, and Rudra Taal, an explosion of challenging rhythms.

Tejaswini Sathe, Guest Artist, Director of SISK, India

Mr. Rann Shinar ably performed a story in Kathak. He enacted a son devoted to Vishnu, a cruel father angry at his son’s devotions, and Narsimha, the fourth incarnation of Vishnu who came to slay the father whose true identity was the Demon King.

Chief Guest of the event was Kala Ramnath, Indian violinist, singer, composer, and recent recipient of the Sangeet Natak Academy’s award, India’s most honored arts award.

Ghungroos/Footbells worn by Kathak dancers

SISK’s adult students performed a musical teen tal in Raag Kalaavati. It included traditional dances, footwork and gestures. The eight dancers were accompanied by music by Chinmay Kolhatkar. The students performed very well. Obviously well trained and well rehearsed, their performance and the dances performed by other students created an excellent tour through Kathak, both its technique and meaning. Ms Dandekar achieved something special with her students: she had choreographed works which were suitable for their abilities and therefore let them shine. The dances were clean, strong, and expressive.

The announcer and narrator was Samita Pradhan. She was outstanding. The commentary added a great deal to the audience’s appreciation for the program.

Tabla Drums

Tabla player Tanmay Bichu was central to the performance. Performing with Shambhavi he played abstract forms of tabla compositions, Peshkaar, Kaida, and Chalan in a ten beat taal, Jhaptaal. One needs to see and hear a fine tabla performer such as this one to appreciate and be knocked off one’s feet by the seemingly endless mathematical complications of the rhythms and the speed of the musician’s hands and fingers as he plays. These complex rhythms were incredibly matched by Ms Dandekar’s feet as she danced with him. It appeared to be a conversation but one that might not be put into words. The audience must be available in the moment, all senses tuned only to the rhythmic sounds. Once it stops, one may become aware that during the rhythmic slicing and mixing of time in the music, time had stopped.

Senior students danced Chatrang, meaning four colors, representing four elements of music depicting storytelling (Nritya). The four are Bandish, melodic composition; Taraana, abstract syllables set to melodic composition; Sargam, notes of melodic composition; and rhythmic syllables. It is fascinating to this audience member how much of the music and dance plays with abstractions even while a story floats on top. In Chatrang, Krishna and the Gopis (young women keepers of cows) play Holi in Vrindavan. Holi is the holiday when devotees exult in spraying bright colors on each other. Vrindavan is the garden in which Krishna loved to frolic as a child. These dancers succeeded at communicating the essence of the story while dancing Kathak’s rhythms and turning movements. For the audience, it was another, more advanced step in learning about Kathak.

In Chatrang and all of the program, the costumes were elegant and colorful. Care was taken to match or vary color and styles, but there was never a chance for a great costume innovation to trip up a dancer. Costumes were by Sheetal Oak, Isha Phadke, of Pune, India.

Three artists visiting from other cities performed a Shiva Drupad in Raag Natbhairav and taal Dhamaar, a fourteen beat cycle. Each of them is the founder and director of a Kathak school and each one comes to the Bay Area to acquire further learning from Ms Dandekar. They are Meenal Chakradeo, Meenal’s Academy of Performing Arts, San Diego; Shaili Bhandari, Nrita Shaili School of Kathak, Phoenix; Ekta Popat, Storytellers School of Dance, Houston. Their dance had choreography and vocals by Param Guru Pandit Maneesha Sathe. These dancers made a beautiful and powerful trio.

Triveni, meaning the confluence of three rivers, was a dance of the three moods of Raag Kedar: taraana (abstact syllables set to melodic composition), tabla compositions, sargam (notes of melodic composition). These students in their third year of Kathak study performed beautifully.

Tejaswini Sathe and Shambhavi Dandekar

Ms Dandekar demonstrated her polished acting skills in an Abhinaya piece, Yashodhara. Named for the wife of Bhagwaan Buddha, the touching dance represented the sacrifices of a wife whose husband is seldom available to her and leaves her alone. She longs for a true marriage of companionship and love. When, at last, her husband returns, he has become Gautam Buddha and helps others to achieve enlightenment. She understands and follows. The dance is based on a Hindi poem by Maithili Sharan Gupta.

A change of pace was a challenging Kathak piece set to music by the contemporary rock group, Coldplay. The song, Sky Full of Stars, expressed the dancers’ passion for dance and its role in their lives according to the narrator. It was an exciting, energetic piece skillfully performed. The dancers reveled in the challenges of cross cultural art.

The program closed with a fantastic match up with Shambhavi Dandekar, Tejaswini Sathe, and Tanmay Bichu. They outdid each other and themselves, each set of rhythmic divertissements over coming the next. It was dazzling!



Conference of Birds at the Mexican Heritage Theater, 9/9-911

ZnKGb9syrL6fAkbt8iQY_CoB_ticketAn exciting dance theater event opens this Friday, September 9, at the Mexican Heritage Theater, and runs for four performances through the weekend. It is a grand program drawing on the skills of ten different dance traditions to tell its story. The cast includes fifteen actors and thirty dancers.The performance is presented by Sangam Arts and EnActe. Its artistic director, Antara Bhardwaj, has been at work on the project for nearly two years. The mission of the producers and directors is to promote multicultural understanding through the arts.

thThe story is based on the work of 12th century Persian poet, Farid ud-Din Attar. It is about the quest of humanity for understanding of the world and god and humanity’s place in relationship to it. Playwrights Jean Claude Carriere and Peter Brook first adapted it to the modern stage. The production team for this event includes Production Head Usha Srinivasan, Director Vinita Belani, Dance & Music Director Antara Bhardwaj, Composer Randy Armstrong.

FolkloricoDance styles include Ballet, Bharatanatyam, Aztec, Afro-Brazilian, Chinese, Folklorico, Hula, Persian, Kathak, Odissi, Belly Dance.

Tickets are available now. Visit facebook/sangamartsorg and enacte.org/production/the-conference-of-the-birds               Performances are Friday afternoon, Sept. 9 for schools; Friday evening at 8 p.m.; Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. & evening at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinee at 4 p.m. This promises to be an extraordinary theater event.

EnActe    Photos: Antara Bhardwaj dancing Kathak, Folklorico dancers                                              Sangam



Welcome! International Dance Festival@Silicon Valley

DFSV 2016 Group PhotosWELCOME to the 5th Anniversary Season of the International Dance Festival@Silicon Valley! IDF@SV 2016 offers classes, workshops, performances. There are performance opportunities for experienced dancers, a chance to create your own dance and perform it, opportunities to try a dance style you’ve never tried before or even to try dancing if you’ve never tried it before. Our Festival Concert features exquisite dances by artists of classical Indian Bharatanatyam and Kathak, Tap Dance by Audreyanne Covarrubias & Megan Ivey, Contemporary ballet by Leslie Friedman, and a chance to join Etta Walton in her Electric Line Dances. The Festival welcomes advanced & professional dancers AND complete beginners, ages from mid-teens to any adult age. The Physical Comedy workshop welcomes ages 10 and up…and up!  Here are the activities of IDF@SV 2016. To learn more about each part of the Festival, please click on its name to link to its page with specific information.







Indian Dance: Timeless Traditions at Triton Museum, Santa Clara, California


IndianFlyer  Sangam Arts and the Cultural Commission of the City of Santa Clara are presenting a program of five types of classical Indian dance at the Triton Museum, 1505 Warburton, 7:30 p.m., January 8, 2016. This is a wonderful opportunity to see the beauty and variety of Indian cultures as embodied in the dances. If you have seen or studied Kathak, for example, here is your opportunity to enjoy Kuchipudi. Already know about Bharatanatyam? Come watch Manipuri! Admission is FREE to see outstanding exponents of these powerful and beautiful dances. The artists and their arts are Antara Bhardwaj, Kathak; Chandreyee Mukherjee, Manipuri; Guru Shradha, Odissi; Madhuri Kishore School, Kuchipudi; Navia Dance Academy, Bharatanatyam. Contact timelesstraditions.eventbrite.com to reserve your tickets. These tickets will go quickly; reserve soon. Congratulations to Sangam Arts for organizing this production. It is a great introduction to Indian classical dances and also an opportunity for those who study or perform one of the art forms to expand their appreciation of other forms.

Nritya Sangam: Kathak & Bharatanatyam in Mountain View

An innovative and powerful performance comes to the Mountain View Performing Arts Center, Sept. 28, 2:30 p.m. Shambhavi Dandekar, Kathak artist, and Parlmal Phadke, Bharatanatyam artist, perform together in Nritya Sangam. Both Ms. Dandekar and Mr. Phadke are well known and tour widely throughout the world. They have presented this concert in 40 US cities, China, and Muscat. “Sangam” describes the meeting of two rivers; the energy and beauty of these two classical Indian dance forms come together to create a new experience in this concert. It is also the meeting of the male presence in movement and the female presence in movement, an exploration of both traditional and modern form and content. For tickets and more information see www.sulekha.comShambSolopegParlmalphotos: Shambhavi Dandekar (L) Parlmal Phadke (R)