2016 Performers

Click a Performer to learn more!

Madhu Nataraj Kiran
Nisheeth Nirjhum Proshanti
Tanveer Alam
Panwar Music and Dance Productions
Tarana Dance Company
Shanta Chikarmane
Gurmeet Marhas
Parul Gupta
Deepti Gupta
Sudeshna Maulik
Sandip Mallick
Sukriti Sharma
Usha Kala Niketan
Kasturi Mishra


Madhu Nataraj Kiran

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Leading the workshop Kathak as the Springboard to Choreography on August 15-18th
Performing at Fairview Library Theatre on August 19th at 8pm

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 Fairview Library Theatre on August 19th at 8pm

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.  

Tanveer Alam

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Performing at Fairview Library Theatre on August 19th at 8pm

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.

Panwar Music and Dance Productions 

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Performing at Fairview Library Theatre on August 19th at 8pm

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.

Tarana Dance Company 

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Performing at Fairview Library Theatre on August 20th at 3pm

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.

Shanta Chikarmane

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Performing at Fairview Library Theatre on August 20th at 3pm

Shanta Chikarmane started her Kathak training in India under the renowned Jaya Kumari of Jaipur Gharana. She is a senior dancer with Rina Singha Kathak Dance Organization (RSKDO) and has performed several productions with the company including: Yeshu Katha, Prithvi-an Earth Narrative, Christmas Windows, Beauty of Kathak, Manzilien, Kathak Mahotsav Canada 2008, 2011 & 2014 and Circle of Bricks. Shanta is also the chair of RSKDO.

Shanta has worked as a Recreation Director with seniors in Retirement and Nursing Homes. She was the 2006 Programs VP for North American Konkani Convention. Shanta has created tableaus, dances and dance theatre work for the Konkani Community based in Toronto, and has choreographed several dance dramas including Krishna, Tagore’s Chandalika. Shanta has directed and choreographed various short plays, dances and tableaus including Seasons of India, presented at the 2009 at Diwali celebration in Toronto for the Konkani Community. She continues her Kathak training under Rina Singha.

Gurmeet Marhas

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Performing at Fairview Library Theatre on August 20th at 3pm

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.

Parul Gupta

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Performing at Fairview Library Theatre on August 20th at 8pm

Parul is the founder, principal teacher and artistic director of Infusion Dance Studios. Her works are part of 3 Cirque du Soleil productions: “Love”, “Kooza” & “Totem”. Parul is committed to continually advancing her dance technique by studying with reputable teachers in both Canada and India.  She has given performances and workshops across Canada, in the U.S.A and in India.
Parul’s scholastic degrees include a Master of Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business (Western University) and a Bachelor degree in Molecular Biology from Concordia University. She is a certified Yoga Instructor in the Sivananda Yoga tradition.  As well, Parul sits on the Board of the Dance For Life Foundation – a non-profit organization that uses dance as a medium to raise funds to donate to those that need it most.
Other than dance, Parul loves to travel, cook and read – basically anything that inspires her creative side. She believes that dance should have instinctive expression and solid technique. Going forward, Parul hopes to share her passion and continue to grow to new heights in her art form.

Deepti Gupta 

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Performing at Fairview Library Theatre on August 20th at 8pm

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.

Sudeshna Maulik (Montreal Kathak Ensemble)

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Performing at Fairview Library Theatre on August 20th at 8pm

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.

Sandip Mallick

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Performing at Fairview Library Theatre on August 20th at 8pm

Born in a family devoted to music, Sandip has started Kathak Dance Training under the tutelage of Srimati Srilekha Mukherjee.Continuing the talim from his Guru, he also got in-depth “talim” from Pandit Birju Maharajji, Pandit Ram Mohan Mishra, Pandit Chitresh Das, Guru Bela Arnab, Guru Bandana Sen, Srimati Saswati Sen and Pandit Vijai Shankar, all luminaries in Indian Classical Dance scenario. He has also undergone “talim” of rhythm from Pandit Kumar Bose.
The “talim” obtained from different stalwarts in the Classical Dance arena along with his own innovative imagination, has given Kathak Dance a new dimension.

Academically, a first-class Post Graduate in Dance from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata and Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) from The University of Calcutta. Nritya Prabhakar, Visharad and Upadhaya (with Gold medal).

He has also given his dazzling performance in several places of United Kingdom namely London, Birmingham, Leeds, Yorkshire, Telford, Bolton, Manchester and many other cities in North England during his tour in U.K., Italy, Czech Republic and Germany,Canada,Singapore since 2002.
He has a wide exposure of working with the Flamenco Dance, while working with Sujata dance Company, London. He has also performed as the lead artiste in the project “Namaste Greetings” from India under the Annapurna Indian Dance Company, Yorkshire.

Participated as a Soloist in the international Kathak festival KATHAK AT CROSS ROAD, at San Francisco, USA in september 2006, among with other dancers like pt Birju Maharaj, Kumudini Lakhiya, Pt. Chitresh Das, Pt. Rajendra Gangani, Smt. Saswati Sen and many others.

Sukriti Sharma

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Performing at Fairview Library Theatre on August 21st at 3pm

Sukriti Sharma is a young Kathak dancer from New Delhi, India. She completed training with guru Sh. Krishan Mohan Mishra (son of the late Padmashree Shambhu Maharaj) and is a graduate of Kathak Kendra, New Delhi, where she was taught the various nuances of Lucknow gharana. Sukriti also worked as an artist in the repertory of padmashree guru Smt. Shovana Narayan. She currently lives in Scarborough where she has been teaching Kathak for four years.

Usha Kala Niketan

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Performing at Fairview Library Theatre on August 21st at 3pm

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.

Kasturi Mishra

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Performing at Fairview Library Theatre on August 21st at 3pm

Born into a family of renowned Indian classical artists, Kasturi Mishra has emerged as one of India’s most enthralling and expressive Kathak dancers in her generation. Katsuri began her training under the guidance of her father Pt. Bachan Lal Mishra, himself a distinguished Kathak artist and a learned dance guru of India. At the tender age of 3, Kasturi made her stage debut in the role of Krishna, and at age 6 she performed her first solo in Kolkata, West Bengal.

Trained in both major schools of Kathak, Kasturi skillfully exemplifies the elegant and soft components of the Lucknow school as well as the vibrant and commanding rhythms of the Jaipur school. Her training also focused on the traditional Kathak solo which requires the dancer to perform without any prior rehearsal with instrumentalists and percussionists and to improvise rhythms, compositions, and storytelling. Kasturi has performed at numerous festivals across India and in 2000 she achieved the degree of Sangeet Prabhakar from Prayag Sangeet Samiti. She has also been awarded Kathak dance prizes at the national level, including awards from Rabindra Bharati University and Bangiyo Sanskriti Parishad.

Throughout her dance career, Kasturi has especially been influenced and inspired by her Guru and Uncle, Pt. Chritresh Das, a master and virtuosic performer of classical Kathak dance. A committed guru, Pt. Das has repeatedly inspired the world of Kathak with his innovations within this traditional art form including his technique, Kathak Yoga, recently published as the subject of a doctoral dissertation at Harvard University. Caster began her training with Pt. Das in 2000 and was profoundly motivated to deepen her own knowledge of this art, and to defend the integrity of the traditional aspects of this unique dance form.

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