15th March 2015

Margam – an afternoon of Kathak

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An afternoon of beautiful Indian classical dance from three highly-talented Kathak performers.

Enjoy an afternoon of beautiful Indian classical dance from three highly-talented Kathak performers. Kathak is fundamentally a storytelling form of dance that traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathakars or storytellers.

About Urja Desai Thakore

Urja was born in Ahmedabad, India and studied for over 20 years with India’s internationally acclaimed Kathak guru and choreographer Kumudini Lakhia. She is a graceful and emotive dancer who is renowned for her love of Abhinay (Facial Expression), clear but subtle movements and technical strength. Her energetic choreographic style is highly regarded by both traditionalists and modernists alike.

Urja has travelled throughout the country, leading workshops in Kathak. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in South Asian Dance and Choreography at Roehampton University. She is also Artistic Director of Pagrav Dance Company, which she established in 1997. Now located in the UK, the company promotes traditional Kathak Dance in its purest form, whilst giving it a modern context and presentation

About Kesha Raithatha

Kesha’s links with dance began at the age of 4 when her mother, Priti Raithatha became the first person in the UK to graduate in South Asian dance from De Montfort University. Kesha’s formal Kathak training began with well-known Kathak exponent, Nilima Devi MBE at Centre for Indian Classical Dance (CICD) at age 8. She accompanied her mother and Nilima Devi in various productions and showcase performances nationally. While training with CICD, she also accomplished her ISTD examinations up to grade 6 in Kathak Dance.

Since 2009, Kesha has spent half of every year experiencing dance in India. This has given her the opportunity to study with several legendary teachers. The journey began with Dr. Maya Rao of the Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography, Bangalore. She is currently under the tutelage of renowned dance exponent Smt. Nirupama Rajendra of Abhinava Dance Company, Bangalore under whose guidance she gave her debut Kathak recitals in Bangalore and the UK in 2014. Kesha also undergoes training and regularly performs with Nritarutya Indian Contemporary Dance Company run by Mayuri Upadhya and has also had initial training in Kalaripayattu.

In 2013, Kesha joined Smt. Daksha Sheth of the Daksha Sheth Dance Company in Trivandrum, Kerala with whom she continues to train and perform. Kesha recently completed the PAL mentoring scheme with Claire Hicks, recent Producer of Dance 4 and now an independent producer and curator.

Kesha has performed at many prestigious venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, the House of Commons and at events such as Her Majesty’s Royal Diamond Jubilee Pageant and China Arts Festival. She has had the honour of being part of the ensemble performing for the ‘Ambani’s, ‘Amitabh Bachchan’ and famous cricketer ‘Sachin Tendulkar’s’ official inauguration ceremony.

In addition, Kesha has significant teaching and choreographic experience gained in the UK. She has also been the recipient of numerous awards for her contribution to the community through cultural dance performance and activity. Academically, Kesha is an honours graduate in Graphic Design from Nottingham Trent University.

About Vidya Patel

Regional Finalist for BBC Young Dancer 2015, Birmingham-based dancer Vidya started learning dance from the age of ten with Sonia Sabri and is currently learning under the guidance of Sujata Banerjee in London.