Wednesday May 22 2024


Kathak Dance Academy

Review Links:

GHDT's "There's No Place Like Home" at Tarkington Theatre | A Seat on the Aisle
Reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier


India has many dance forms. Choosing between them can be difficult as there are a variety of options here in the Indianapolis area. The most important component of a student learning any dance is the guru who is teaching the student the art form. When children are very young, they need so much encouragement and personal attention to help the child to become comfortable with the complexity of these ancient dance forms. Our daughter started off with other dance forms for a few years. However, when we found out that there was a Kathak teacher in our area, we were very excited and wanted to enroll our daughter Nidhi in it.

We were overjoyed when Anindita agreed to accept Nidhi as her student. Nidhi, under Anindita's guidance and teaching, flourished and developed self-confidence not only as a dancer, but also it affected her personality and made her a more confident person, too. Right from the beginning, Nidhi enjoyed her classes with Anindita and looked forward to every weekend to see her guru. Anindita makes each child that comes to her studio feel special and takes individual care for each one of them, seeing their individual strengths and weaknesses. She is very patient, loving, nurturing and almost like a second mother to her students, and thereby she makes each child want to excel and reach their full potential.

Before we knew it, over six years had passed and Nidhi, who had started learning Kathak with Anindita at the age of nine, was fifteen years old when Anindita brought up the suggestion for Nidhi to begin training for her Kathak Rang Manch Pranam. We were all very excited. Anindita guided us through the whole process, from the venue to the musicians and program details. She kept Nidhi on track with her dance pieces trying to ensure that Nidhi would reach her goal of learning the dance pieces in time for her Rang Manch Pranam. The Rang Manch Pranam is one of the most special and memorable moments in Nidhi's life, and for us as her parents, it was a very proud and shining moment in our lives.

We feel very lucky that we found a teacher like Anindita with all her qualities of caring for each student, but also her quiet firmness in ensuring that her students practiced and learned their dance steps and hand movements. We know that any child that chooses to learn Kathak from Anindita will have a very enjoyable experience and can feel confident in their commitment to learn Kathak from her.

P. Kamalesh

Anindita has been my daughter's dance teacher since she was 5. "Everybody can dance, it's the drive and passion that makes a dancer". We were fortunate enough to watch Sapna grow into a dancer under the guidance of Dr. Anindita Sen. "RangManch Pranam" is a big milestone to achieve for any Kathak dancer and Sapna was very excited when she got a chance to do so 3 years ago in 2017.

RangManch takes a lot of dedication and hard work from both Guru and Shishya and we couldn't have asked for a better partner than Anindita to take this journey with us. Sapna will always cherish all the memories that she created with her Guru all through this journey. Anindita, being a perfectionist pays attention to every little detail and this makes it easier for the dancer to be on stage and just enjoy performing.

Sapna is thankful for the opportunity to dance, teach and continue representing Nrityangan at different events even after her Rangmanch, which she did with immense pride. We do hope that with her Guru's blessings she will continue to pursue this passion of hers and forever be a part of big Nrityangan family.

P. Nakshatri

Nrityangan provides a very positive learning atmosphere and has a philosophy that weaves fun with learning which fosters a very healthy, enjoyable and enriching experience for the students. Anindita provides individual focus to each dancer's learning pattern and areas of strengths instead of having a generic approach, which allows each dancer to flourish and reach their highest potential. She has high standards to which she holds her school and students to: in the choreography; expectation of perfect execution during performances; or the choice of high class performing auditoriums - there is class in everything that is associated with this dance school.

Speaking of high standards, "Rangmanch" or the graduation ceremony at Nrityangan is a matter of immense pride and joy for the student, the family and Anindita. Her level of commitment and investment of time is commendable. And this truly makes it a lifetime experience for every student that chooses to take their dance journey to that level.

Anindita is also very well-known and well-connected among Indian community and cultural entities and organizations in the greater Indianapolis area and beyond. This provides abundant opportunities for her students to perform on various stages and forums to a diverse audience and makes for a very comprehensive learning experience for them. Not to mention the tremendous privilege her students have had in being able to meet Pandit Birju Maharaj Ji, up close; and for some to even learn from him and dance alongside, because Anindita has been a disciple of Maharaj Ji's disciple.

For our daughter, Karnika, connecting with Nrityangan and Anindita was very special. It came at a time when all avenues to continue her dance lessons seemed to be closing after we moved from Chicago; and she would have had to give up her dance school of five years. A simple Google search followed by meeting with this wonderful lady and her dance school paved the path for another five years of intense learnings; performing on various stages around Indianapolis and in Madison Square Gardens IN NYC; culminating in her Rangmanch - one of the most fulfilling experiences in her life to this day.

A dancer graduating from Nrityangan is positioned to potentially pursue a career in dancing as a successful dancer or a dance teacher. And if their career aspirations don't involve dancing, they still walk out of this school with a lifelong gift of grace, rhythm and confidence to perform in front of any size audience. Most importantly, the student walks away with an immense appreciation for Indian classical dance and music.

V. Dubey

Anindita Sen has been a teacher to my daughters for the past several years. She is a dedicated teacher whose goal is for her students to learn this beautiful form of classical dance and appreciate the culture of dance. My eldest was only able to learn for a few years as she went to college but still comments about how much she enjoyed the class and how she wishes she had spent more time with Anindita and had actually graduated in the program. She had taken dance instruction from another teacher for a couple of years before and with Anindita learned more in the first few months!

My second daughter did graduate in Kathak (Raang Manch Pranamme) and her passion for dance is evident in her visage as she talks about the program and her love for Kathak.

My youngest is still in the program and plans to also complete her graduation with Anindita. All three daughters have time and again commented about Anindita's teaching style; firm and professional, yet very kind and loving.

I feel fortunate to know Anindita; my daughters have learned not only Kathak but have become better people for having been in her tutelage. I would recommend her highly to anyone who would like to experience the art of Kathak.

T. Chakrabarti

   My daughter Roshni graduated in Kathak from Nrityangan in 2011 after having received training from her guru, Anindita Sen. Anindita is an excellent dancer, choreographer, teacher, and mentor, and Roshni has greatly benefited from Anindita's guidance in acquiring a positive direction about fine arts in general and Indian classical dance in particular.

Anindita took the time to understand Roshni's personality and structured her lessons in a way that appealed to her, so when she pushed Roshni pretty hard towards achieving perfection, it was hard work in an enjoyable way.

Under Anindita's tutelage Roshni has performed at a variety of events, which has given her great exposure and substantially improved her confidence. I wish Nrityangan a bright future!

A. Bag

 I do not exactly remember our first meeting with Anindita. I do remember distinctly the warm flutter in my heart upon learning that she lives in our neighborhood and teaches Kathak. My passion for Kathak goes to back to my childhood when I had to quit learning Kathak due to family reasons. So, finding out about Anindita, it seemed like God had sent me another opportunity to be able to carry on with my dream through my daughter who at that point was a complete tomboy.

I remember that at times we were more enthusiastic about Kathak than Shivani was about learning this beautiful classical dance. I admired Anindita's patience on many occasions when I sat through the practices and saw my child with minimal attention. It was amazing to see Anindita encourage, gently nudge and get her to do the same steps numerous times till she achieved perfection.

At our end we felt very proud each time she recited a bole and performed ladi that she had learnt. Everything was going well until we had to stop Kathak lessons when Shivani got hurt in an accident. We had to reluctantly resign to the idea that her dancing days are done with. It was once again fate that Anindita encouraged us to resume dance classes once Shivani had recovered and was bouncing around as her normal self.

This led to countless hours of practice. Shivani had gradually become more and more enthusiastic about dance classes and started to talk about each class more passionately. We realized that Shivani is blossoming under the guidance of her guru. Anindita had slowly and surely instilled the passion for Kathak in Shivani.

Praise and encouragement by Anindita was doing wonders for her and then came the day when Anindita mentioned about her Rang manch pranaam. We were nervous and excited at the same time. Anindita being a professional had a spreadsheet with timeline for everything. She cared for each dance piece deeply and gave attention to detail for each step of the dance till Shivani was able to perfect it. She was going to showcase the dances along with helping us with the logistics of the performance in a very professional way.

The practices, costumes, lights, ghungroos, timing, make up and all the detailed planning was worth it when Shivani was able to perform Kathak flawlessly on her Rang manch pranaam event. We felt gratitude, pride, relief, happiness, and tremendous satisfaction after the performance. The special bond between the guru and the shishya is very visible and can be felt each time before and after each performance they put together.

It is heart warming to feel the passion they share. We are indeed grateful to God and Anindita that Shivani has been able to appreciate this classical dance. We wish Anindita and her dance academy the best. I definitely hope that this association will continue for years to continue.

Dr. S. Bajpai

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