|Died||7 May 2018|
|Awards|| Padma Shri |
Vice-President's Gold Medal
Order of the Queen of Laos
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
Senior Fellowship - Govt of India
Rani Karnaa was an Indian classical dancer, known for her proficiency in the Indian dance form of Kathak, and regarded by many as one of the greatest exponents of the art form.She was honoured by the Government of India, in 2014, by bestowing on her the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, for her services to the field of dance.
Rani Karnaa was born in 1939, in a sindhi family of amirsin Hyderabad, in the present day Pakistan and erstwhile British India. Her father, Assandas Karnaa belonged originally to the Karnamalani family of Larkana region. The family name of Karnamalani, over a period of time, got abbreviated to Karanani and eventually to Karnaa. In 1942, her family moved to Delhi when the young Rani was three years old. She had her early schooling in Delhi and graduated in Botany from the Hindu College, Delhi. She also did Honours degree in Botany later but forsook academics to concentrate on her dance career.
Rani Karnaa's family moved from Sindh to Delhi when she was threeand settled at Connaught Place. She soon grew a fancy for dance seeing a neighbor dancing, insisted on learning the art and started learning dance from the age of four, learning Kathak, Odissi, Bharatanatyam and Manipuri. Her early teachers were Nrityacharya Narayan Prasad and Sundar Prasad. She continued her studies to master the Jaipur gharana style under Guru Hiralal and the Lucknow gharana ethos from Pandit Birju Maharaj.
Rani Karnaa shifted her residence to Bhubaneshwar when she got married into an Odia family in 1963and this gave her an opportunity to meet Kumkum Mohanty, the famous Odissi dancer. Through her, Rani Karnaa got in touch with the renowned guru, Kelucharan Mahapatra and learnt Odissi from the master from 1966 to 1985. She has also trained under various other famous gurus such as Amubi Singh, Narendra Kumar and Lalita Shastri, a disciple of the renowned Rukmini Devi Arundale.
Rani Karnaa performed extensively across India and outside,performing at almost all the major classical dance festivals in India. Her performances are said to have received acclaim in places like UK, Russia and many other European countries.
Rani Karnaa lived in Kolkata, since shifting from Bhubaneshwar when her husband, Nayak, was transferred to Kolkata in 1978,attending to her duties as the director of Samskritiki Shreyaskar and was active until recently, her last public performance was in 2013, at the age of 74. She died on 7 May 2018, aged 79.
Apart from contributing to the propagation of Kathak through her performances, Rani Karnaa is credited with integrating the traditions of Jaipur and Lucknow gharanas.Many critics have acknowledged her contributions in bringing different cultural traditions into Kathak, by integrating their literature, music and dance. She is said to have combined artistry with creative expression. She has done research on the aesthetics of Kathak with Professor S. K. Saxena of Delhi University and the body of that research work is well recognized.
She established a dance academy, Samskritiki Shreyaskar,1995, and also guides the Sangeet and Nritya Sikshan Bharati, a division of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kolkata. She is also the founder and the first director of Calcutta School of Music and worked there from 1978 till 1993. She established the dance division of Aurobindo Bhavan, Kolkata, by name, Ahana and headed the department from 1980 to 1987.
Samskritiki Shreyaskar is a dance academy founded in 1995, by Rani Karnaa,with the aim to propagate the dance form of Kathak and to develop the performing arts in general. The academy stands along Jodhpur Park, Kolkata and offers various courses in various dance forms. The academy and its students have participated in various cultural festivals across India such as:
The academy, apart from the courses it offers, conducts workshops and live demonstrations. It has associations with Rabindra Bharati University and Nehru Children's Museum, New Delhi, for conducting regular workshops.It also has a subsidiary centre in Odisha, started in 2005.
Rani Karnaa was honoured by the Government of India by awarding her the Padma Shri, in 2014, in recognition of her efforts to the cause of Kathak dance.She has also received many other awards and honours such as:
Brijmohan Mishra, popularly known as Pandit Birju Maharaj, is an exponent of the Lucknow Kalka-Bindadin gharana of Kathak dance in India. He is a descendant of the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers, which includes his two uncles, Shambhu Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj, and his father and guru, Acchan Maharaj. Even though dancing is his first love, he practices Hindustani classical music and is a vocalist.
Kumudini Lakhia is an Indian Kathak dancer and choreographer based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where she founded Kadamb School of Dance and Music, an institute of Indian dance and music in 1967.
Damayanti Joshi was a noted Indian classical dancer in the Kathak dance form. She began in the 1930s dancing in Madame Menaka's troupe, which travelled to many parts of the world. She learnt Kathak from Sitaram Prasad of Jaipur Gharana and became an adept dancer at a very young age, and later trained under from Acchan Maharaj, Lacchu Maharaj and Shambhu Maharaj of Lucknow gharana, thus imbibing nuances from both the traditions. She became independent in the 1950s and achieved prominence in the 1960s, before turning into a guru at her dance school in Mumbai.
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Uma Sharma is a kathak dancer, choreographer and teacher. She is also runs the Bharatiya Sangeet Sadan, Delhi, a classical dance and music academy, situated in New Delhi, founded by her father in 1946. She is most known for reviving the old classical dance form of Natwari Nritya or the Raslila of Brindavan, which later evolved into the Kathak.
Shashi Sankhla,, is an exponent of the Jaipur gharana of Kathak dance in India. She is a Senior Disciple of Guru Pt. Kundan Lal Gangani Ji. She has been awarded by Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards 2008 in Kathak dance. She was the principal of Jaipur Kathak Kendra. Her earnest desire to propagate and sustain the classical tenets of Kathak urged her to form Geetanjali music Society an institute devoted to Kathak.
National Institute of Kathak Dance, also known as Kathak Kendra, is the premier dance institution for the Indian classical dance form of Kathak, and a unit of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, situated in New Delhi. Established in 1964, the institution is primarily dedicated to Kathak, though it also offers courses in Hindustani classical music (Vocal) and Pakhawaj and Tabla.
Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra (SBKK) is an Indian cultural institution which runs a noted school for music, dance and performing arts in New Delhi. It was founded by Sumitra Charat Ram in 1952, and imparts training in Indian classical dance styles and music, including Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Chhau, Hindustani Classical music, both Vocal and Instrumental. It associated organisation is the Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts at Safdar Hasmi Marg, in the Mandi House area, the cultural hub of Delhi, the centre includes a theater for the performing arts, a theatre repertory company and an acting school.
Sharan Rani was an Indian classical sarod player and music scholar.
Guru Mayadhar Raut is an Indian classical Odissi dancer, choreographer and Guru.
Madhavi Mudgal is an Indian classical dancer known for her Odissi dance style. She has won several awards, including the Sanskriti Award, 1984, President of India's award of Padma Shri, 1990, the Orissa State Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, 1996, Grande Medaille de la Ville by Govt. of France, 1997, Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, 2000, Delhi State Parishad Samman, 2002 and the title of Nritya Choodamani in 2004.
Sumitra Charat Ram was a noted Indian arts patron, impresario and the founder of Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra (SBKK) established in 1952. She played a key role in the revival of performing arts, especially Kathak, in the post-independence era, for which she received a Padma Shri Award.
Gauri Jog is a Kathak dancer, Choreographer and research scholar from Chicago. She has been practicing Kathak dance and considered as an exponent of Lucknow and Jaipur Gharana. Her creations include Krishna Leela, Shakuntala, Jhansi Ki Rani, Kathak Yatra, East meets West, Fire - the Fiery Tale among others. She brings to life traditional "art of storytelling" through the technical elements in Kathak. She is very popular especially among younger generation due to her unique approach to combine some Bollywood steps and Yoga into the Kathak while taking care not to cross the boundaries of tradition. Her experiments with combining Kathak with Flamenco, Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Mexican and American Ballet have won many accolades. Since 1999 Gauri Jog and her group have performed more than 325 dance shows in North America and India.
Maya Rao was an Indian classical dancer, choreographer and educator, in Kathak dance. She is known for her pioneering work in Kathak choreography, especially in dance ballets, and is credited for bringing Kathak, a North Indian-dance style to South India, when she opened her dance school, Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography (NIKC) in Malleswaram, Bangalore in 1987. She was also the founder director of her dance company, "Natya and Stem Dance Kampni", an amalgam of NIKC and the STEM Dance Kampni based in Bangalore. After her early training under Guru Sohanlal of Jaipur Gharana, followed by Guru Sunder Prasad also of the Jaipur Gharana, and went to train under Guru Shambhu Maharaj of Lucknow Gharana at National Institute of Kathak Dance in Delhi.
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Yamunabai Waikar, née Yamunabai Vikram Jawle was an Indian folk artist, known for her expertise in the Marathi folk traditions of Lavani and Tamasha, folk art forms involving music and dance and reported to be one of the leading exponents of the art genres. A recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, she was honored by the Government of India, in 2012, with the fourth highest Indian civilian award of Padma Shri.
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