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Born into the family of the legendary Hindu philosopher of Vedanta, Swami Ram Tirtha, Divya stands today as an artist anchored to the roots of traditional dance forms. Hailing from this great lineage of the enlightened mystic, mathematician, yogi, philosopher and writer, Divya aims to tread this supreme yet simple art of living, following with complete devotion this journey into Indian Classical Arts. She is also blessed to be a direct descendant from her maternal family, the great shayar-philosopher of Punjab, Pandit Kirpa Ram Sharma ‘Nazim’.
Carrying this rich tradition into her works, Divya stands still in her belief that Indian classical art forms and Kathak in particular, takes us closer to our core, our inner self and is a medium for self evolvement. Hence, her compositions are steeped in deep understanding of history, mythology and spirituality. In these fast changing times, she holds close the concept of spiritual, emotional and intellectual growth, keeping Indian Classical Arts at the very core.
Divya was initiated into the Lucknow Gharana of Kathak under the able guidance of Guru Yogini Gandhi, at the Kalanidhi Institute, Pune where she learnt for over fifteen years. Since many years now, Divya continues to learn under the tutelage of the Great Maestro of Lucknow Gharana, Guru Munna Shukla Ji. Having a good command over both, the rhythmic (nritta) and emotive (nritya) aspects, she has been performing as well as imparting training to students for over fifteen years. She has performed at numerous concerts and lecture demonstrations in India and abroad.
Multifaceted, her passionate appreciation of traditional art forms has led her to focus her talent in dance, art, drama and creative therapy. Divya’s compositions are steeped in deep understanding of history, mythology and spirituality. In essence today, she harnesses her talent to express the art forms in a meditative performance of dance.
A rare combination of talent, intellect and beauty, Yogini is amongst the very few dancers who perform two Indian classical dance styles - Kathak & Odissi with equal dexterity and virtuosity. She has received guidance from India’s legendary dance maestros Pt. Birju Maharaj and Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra.Yogini has performed at some of the most prestigious festivals in India like the Sawai Gandharva Mahotsav, Ellora Festival, Kathak Kendra Mahotsav etc. Through the years her performances have received critical acclaim as also appreciation from audiences in India and abroad. She has presented dance concerts and lecture demonstrations in the USA, Australia, Sweden, Denmark etc. She has been bestowed with a number of awards and honors to name a few The Rotary Vocational Excellence award, The Shingaar Mani, Outstanding Young Person Award. She is also empanelled with the I.C.C.R. Indian Council for Cultural Relations, A Govt. of India organization in New Delhi and Member of the International Dance Council - UNESCO To share her love and joy of dance, Yogini established ‘Kalanidhi’ an institute where she imparts training in Kathak & Odissi. Yogini’s creative pursuit in the realm of performing arts is her intrinsic journey of self-evolvement.
The Kathak maestro, Pandit Munna Shukla is a large hearted, self effacing and effective teacher. An excellent performer he is the creator of radically new dance numbers which no where spill over the Kathak idiom inspite of their aesthetic diversity and opulence. Nor is his repertoire of traditional numbers lacking in beauty and variety. As an exponent and teacher of kathak, and also as a speaker on this dance form, Munna ji has regaled audiences travelling the length and breath of India and numerous countries abroad.Munna Shukla ji has trained several artistes, who are active performers and thinkers making a positive contribution to the evolution of artistic sensibilities in society today. He has taught at the Kalachaya Institute for 7 years at Pune, and been a member of the teaching faculty at the ' Kathak Kendra' the National Institute of Kathak and Shri Ram Bhartiya Kendra. For his immense contributions in the filed of Kathak, Guruji has been bestowed with several awards and honours. The Saraswati Samman, 2011; Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, 2006; Sahitya Kala Parishad Samman, 2003; Sarangdeo Award by Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai, 1989; Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, 1988 to name a few. Born to dance,Guru Munna Shukla is the son of Late Vidyavati, a classical vocalist and the daughter of the famed Kathak Maestro Acchan Maharaj and the nephew of the brilliant and illustrious Pandit Birju Maharaja, Guruji continues to contribute in the filed of Kathak remaining true to the traditions of this art form.