2015 Performers

Gurmeet Marhas

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Performing at KMC on August 13th.

Gurmeet Kaur Marhas is the Founder and Artistic Director of Kathak Dance Academy Dancing Petals. She is a Kathak Dance aficionado. An enthusiast ardently learning, exploring, performing, dancing, teaching Kathak.

Gurmeet started learning Kathak with Ms. Sandhya Desai, student of Padma Bhushan Kumudini Lakhia and continued her pursuit under Ms. Kiran Chouhan. Twelve years later she completely immersed into the Kathak world and went to Kalashram, Delhi, school of the legendary maestro Pt. Birju Maharaj.

Her certifications include a ‘Sangeet Prabhakar in Kathak’ from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad and ‘Diploma in Kathak’ from Kalashram, Delhi. She continues her education within the ISTD framework as a dancer and performer, and as a dance instructor.

Pooja Kulkarni 

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Performing at KMC on August 13th with Tanveer Alam.

Pooja is the founder and teacher at Mudra school of dance, and has trained in Kathak for over 15 years.

She pursued her passion towards classical dance by undergoing training In Kathak at age of 12 under the guidance of Guru Smt Shilpa Kantak. Pooja has received training in both Jaipur and Lucknow gharana. Additionally she also attended several workshops conducted by the maestro Pt. Birju Maharajji . She also undertook advanced training under internationally renowned Kathak and Odissi dancer Saveeta Sharma, Founder and principal teacher at Upasana school of dance, Toronto. She also had the opportunity to perform for Upasana’s Nritya Sunderam 2009.

Pooja has performed at various events in Toronto including MBM Toronto’s Sahitya Samelan, 2011, Arya Samaj Fundraiser 2008 and 2010, Southasian Cultural Exchange program- organised by peel school board, 2012, Art of Living foundation Fundraiser. 2012.

Pooja’s dedication and hardwork helped her to successfully complete her Nritya Visharad In 2008, along with a Bachelors degree in Management, from University of Mumbai.

She has a passion towards teaching and imparting the knowledge she has gained over the years. She has the ability to highlight positive points in every student and help them understand and enhance their ability by perfecting the technique through personalized attention.

Tanveer Alam

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Performing at KMC on August 13th with Pooja Kulkarni.

Born and raised in Montreal, Tanveer has demonstrated a keen interest in the performing arts since a young age. For the past seven years, he has been receiving training in the Indian classical dance form, kathak. Presently, he is training with his guru Smt. Sandhya Desai (senior disciple of the Padmabhushan Kumudini Lakhia). Under her tutelage, Tanveer has deepened his understanding of the finer nuances of kathak and the use of ang (upper body), footwork, and vigorous pirouettes. Tanveer has worked with international kathak dancer and singer Bageshree Vaze in her recent productions, alongside Sean Frederick

In addition to which, he is also learning classical ballet and contemporary dance in the Limón technique, with his teachers Marie-Josée Hardy and Chantale Desgroseilliers respectively. Tanveer has also joined the professional ballet program at Académie du Ballet Métropolitain under Alexis Simonot. This summer, Tanveer spent a month training extensively in contemporary dance at prestigious School of Toronto Dance Theater under greats like Darryl Tracy, Rosemary James, Julia Sasso and Wendy Chiles to name a few. In his last kathak examination with the school Akhil Bhartiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya of India, he received the highest grade possible (distinction). Since 2009, Tanveer has been invited to perform in many professional shows across Canada to showcase his talents. Past notable performances include, the Festival of QuébéAsia, Festival des traditions du monde de Sherbrooke, Design 14 at the Shenkman Arts Center of Ottawa, and Canada Day Celebrations at the Harbourfrount. At his debut at Rina Singha’s Kathak Mahotsav Canada 2014, Tanveer presented Urjah, a solo choreographed by guru Sandhya Desai. A passionate and charismatic dancer, his performances belie his young age.

Madhu Nataraj

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Leading the workshop Moving Verse in Choreography on August 12th. Performing at KMC on August 13th. 

Performer, choreographer, educator and arts entrepreneur, Madhu was chosen as one of India’s 50 young achievers by India Today. She has received several awards, including the ‘Bismillah Khan Yuva puraskar’ from the central Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Mohan Khokar award for excellence in dance. She studied Kathak from her mother Dr Maya Rao and from Smt. Chitra Venugopal. Although she trained in contemporary dance in New York, Madhu returned to India with a vision to create a unique dance company with its own distinctive contemporary Indian dance identity – the Natya STEM Dance Kampni.

A graduate of commerce, journalism & choreography, she has also trained in Indian martial arts, ritualistic/folk dance traditions, pedagogy and Yoga. She believes dance is a potent medium for change in the public domain. Ranging from education, social issues, creativity, and documentation to healing, her projects aim to materialize this philosophy. Madhu has created over 75 choreographic works in the 16 years of the Kampni’s existence. She is also a panelist at important Design, Cultural and Academic institutions and is often invited to perform, design programs and choreographic works for prestigious cultural organizations across India, UK, Australia, New Zealand, UAE, SE Asia, Europe & USA.

Nisheeth Nirjhum Proshanti

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Performing at KMC on August 14th.

Nisheeth Proshanti Nirjhum’s mother whom is a passionate writer, introduced her to the world of dance at the age of three.  Nirjhum began her lessons in dance in Dhaka city of Bangladesh in the style of Bengali Folk Dance at Gitayan.  Gitayan is a performing arts school founded by a very prestigious and renowned film and music director of Bangladesh: the late Shotto Shaha. She was encouraged to pursue training and study in classical dance, so she moved on to learn Kathak from one of the most famous Kathak dancer of Bangladesh: Shibley Mohammed; student of Pandit Birju Maharaj.  She moved to Toronto, Canada immediately after and was introduced to the most gracious and sensational Kathak dancer: Rina Singha, whom was a student of Pandit Shambhu Maharaj and a pioneer of the institute of Kathak dance in Canada. Nirjhum has represented and performed for Rina Singha Kathak Dance Organization for 2012Kathak Mohatsav.  She took part in Rina Singha’s 2014 dance production: Circle of Bricks at Fleck Dance Theatre in Toronto.  Nirjhum has been continuing to learn and perform for Guruma Rina SIngha.  Nirjhum explored her passion for dance through not only Kathak but Bharatnattyam as well.  She has learnt Bharatnattyam from the year of 2006 to 2011 and has been working in many different productions of Meneka Thakkar Dance Company; all throughout Canada. Nirjhum has worked and performed in Meneka Thakkar Dance Company Children’s Production,Repertoire of Nrittyakala, National Contemporary Dance Festivals of Canada in Ottawa andGuelph Contemporary Dance Festival.  On the fall of 2012, she debuted her first solo performance NrittyaMala; presenting herself as a professional Indian Classical Dancer.  

Deepti Gupta 

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Performing at KMC on August 14th.

Deepti Gupta is a disciple of Guru Munna Shukla, renowned guru of the Lucknow Gharana, and has been working for many years with Kalashram, the Kathak Academy of Padmavibhushan Pundit Birju Maharaj. She has also been lecturing at Kathak Kendra, New Delhi on the theoretical principles of Kathak.

Deepti is a critically acclaimed choreographer of Canada with groundbreaking contemporary works in Kathak and Chhau. A disciple of honoured choreography guru, Dr. Maya Rao, Deepti has a deep study of choreography in both India and Canada. Deepti’s dance creations have been presented in Vasantotsav, Delhi, Panchatatva, Mumbai, the International Kathak Festival, Chicago, Danscepace Project, New York, as well as the Canada Dance Festival and Kalanidhi Festival, Toronto amongst others. She has performed extensively in Canada, India, U.S. and U.K. as a soloist and with her company. Deepti holds an MA in Dance from York University, Toronto and is a recognised scholar and teacher both in Canada and in India. Her academic research includes the teaching of classical Indian dance in Diaspora communities as well as therapeutic benefits of Indian dance. She is artistic director of Arzoo Dance Theatre, an organisation dedicated to creating new works in dance that transcend geographical and cultural boundaries.

Panwar Music and Dance Productions 

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Performing at KMC on August 14th.

Panwar Music and Dance Productions (PMDP) is a non profit and charitable organization incorporated in 2009. PMDP aspires to enrich the lives of Youth, adults and communities at large. The company creates innovative and traditional pieces that involve the artistic directors Hemant and Vaishali Panwar and their professional team of dancers and musicians.

The company is involved in genuine promotion of traditional music of aesthetically high standards by arranging and producing musical concerts, workshops and seminars that include visiting artists from around the world. The company proudly specializes in presenting Kathak – A classical dance form with its roots in North India, along with Classical Hindustani Music.

PMDP organises Youth Festival biennial to create opportunities for upcoming dancers, singers and musicians who are at the threshold of their professional career. Panwar music and Dance productions is progressing towards new horizons by amalgamating various art forms: Indian and Canadian – in fusion choreographies – to be staged in the near future. Recently, PMDP premiered its contemporary Kathak Dance piece – With you Between us in prestigious Kalanidhi Festival at Harboufront Centre.

Usha Kala Niketan

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Performing at KMC on August 14th. 

Returning from her fourth All India tour, Artistic Director for Usha Kala Niketan and Usha Dance Entourage, Usha Gupta expresses her passion for life and dance as an established artist, choreographer and teacher in Edmonton. She holds the City of Edmonton’s ‘Salute to Excellence’ Awards in Performing Arts (2000, 2004) and the Government of India Choreography Award. Usha collaborates with professional companies such as the Brian Webb Dance Company, the Edmonton Opera, and Stage Polaris. She has served on the steering committee for the Canadian Heritage ‘Cultural Diversity’ Conference in Ottawa and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and Canada Council for the Arts juries.

Tarana Dance Company 

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Performing at KMC on August 15th. 

Tarana Dance Centre was a vision brought to life by Artistic Director, Deviekha Chetram. Deviekha was born and raised in Alexander Village, Guyana & has been learning the art of dance since she was 6 years old. When Deviekha moved to Toronto in 1976, she found there was a void for Indian music & dance in Toronto. After numerous requests, Deviekha started performing and dancing in 1979. In Toronto Deviekha was featured on many platforms for her art and was working with charitable organizations, religious groups, conferences and childrens groups teaching dance. Deviekha was met with resounding success and growth. After 10 years of spreading Indian Dance & art in Toronto, Deviekha founded the Tarana Dance Centre in September 1989. Tarana Dance Company member Marla Palakkamanil will also be performing a solo on August 15th.

Tapash Debnath

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Performing at KMC on August 15th.

Tapash Debnath is one of the well-known solo kathak dancers and choreographers of today. He maintains the style of Lucknow Gharana. He is a regular artist of Kolkata Doordarshan, Stage and Flim media. Many of his past students are well-known dancers and choreographers today.

He feels a responsibility to guide the younger generations to develop a proper attitude and approach towards Art and a final commitment to society, thereby developing a good aesthetic taste and balance in life.

He Applies Kathak in different ways, often mixed with folk, Rabindranath Tagore, Different Ragas, Different Taal, and Sufi. He has worked at many universities and colleges, and has joined several prestigious dance festivals in Kolkata and Abroad also.

Montreal Kathak Ensemble (Sudeshna Maulik)

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Performing at KMC on August 15th.

Sudeshna, a Kathak practitioner, is a most promising Indian Classical dancer. Based in Canada, she maintains an active performing career that spans throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

Sudeshna’s dance mastery in Kathak technique stems from years of training under Pt Chitresh Das, as well as at  Bharatiya Kala Kendra, New Delhi and later at Kathak Kendra, New Delhi under the guidance of Kathak legend Padmabhibhushan Birju Maharaj. Over the past few years she has been a part of Kadamb’s performing unit (Padmashri Kumidini Lakhia’s Dance Company).

Having imbibed from her teachers the best of different traditions, Sudeshna developed a style distinctly her own and has taken part in numerous productions throughout India and abroad, sponsored by the I.C.C.R., I.T.D.C, and International Dance Companies. Sudeshna is a graded artist in Delhi Doordarshan (National Telivision of India) and has performed at the Central Production Centre (C.P.C) in ballets choreographed by Guru Pt. Birju Maharaj Ji, Kumudini lakhia and Aditi Mangal Das.

Sudeshna integrates her passion and dedication for Kathak by developing specific projects by which she can incorporate her strong creative urge of self – exploration through her dance vocabulary.

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