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Kathak- Indian Dance for 7-13 yr olds 10-week series In-person with Udani Ranasinghe
January 13, 2023, @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm HST
“Throughout my professional dance career, the rhythmical structures that I learned in Indian dance class gave me an edge over my fellow ballet and contemporary dancers. It empowered me with the ability to easily process choreographic sequences and retain patterns of movement.”
– Neela Vadivel, former dancer at Cirque du Soleil
Students will have the opportunity to perform what they have learned at our annual Birthday celebration Mar 18, 2023.
Kathak is one of the eight Indian classical dance forms and the only dance form that comes from the northern part of India. The word Kathak comes from the word “Katha” which means story, and the storyteller is known as the “Kathak” or “Kathakaar.” Kathak is an amalgamation of three performing arts: music, dance and drama. When these three components merge, a Kathak is born.
In this class, students will learn the traditional style of Lucknow Gharana Kathak. They will learn elementary footwork and hand movements called “tatkaar” and “hasta mudra,” respectively, mainly focused in Teen taal, a 16-beat rhythmic time cycle. The series will include, but not limited to the basic knowledge of history, theory, recitation, expressions and rhythmic cycles. By completing this series, the students will be equipped with the fundamentals of Kathak and they will be able to perform a graceful enlivening Kathak dance piece.
The spiritual traditions of India are deeply woven in the dance form of Kathak. Students will learn a prayer, called “namaskar,” which thanks the Universe, Mother Earth and the teacher, at the beginning of every class.
In order to respect Mother Earth and preserve the spiritual setting, Kathak is danced barefoot. Students are encouraged to wear comfortable but yet modest clothing.
Developing a love for dance at the age of 5, Udani Ranasinghe started training first in traditional dance from Sri Lanka. Since her move to Los Angeles, CA in 2001 she has been training and performing Kathak for over 10 years, and exploring her passion for dancing through various forms of dance, from traditional to Argentinian Tango, Salsa, Bachata, Zouk and Kizomba.
Udani is a disciple of Guru Rachana Upadhyay who is the founder and director of Kathak Kala Academy in Northridge, CA. She has also been a company performer at Kathak Kala Academy and a Kathak dance instructor of the Lucknow Gharana. In the past 6 years, she has been dedicated to teaching Kathak dance to children. She has participated in Kathak workshops conducted by Late Pandit Birju Maharaj & Smt. Saswati Sen and more recently have learned from Smt. Durga Arya in Germany, and also training under Guru Sushma Kashyap for Hindustani music. Udani also performed at IJWD, India Friends Association Archana, USC Pacific Asia Museum, NBC Universal Diwali Function, etc. in the Los Angeles area. She holds a Senior Diploma in Kathak from Prayag Sangeet Samiti in Allahabad in India. She is currently preparing for her Prabhakar (equivalent to B.A.) exams in 2023.
She is currently a doctoral student in the Mathematics program at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. She has been a lecturer in Mathematics at various California State Universities (Los Angeles and Northridge) and community colleges (College of the canyons, LA Valley College, etc.) for over 15 years. She completed her Bachelors with a dual major in Mathematics and Business Administration, and Master’s in Mathematics in California.
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