My Gurus Late Shri Balasaheb Gokhale, Smt Prabhatai Marathe and Shri Munnala Shukla hold great respect and a special place in my heart and whose guidance and inspiration is invaluable to Nrityakunjan Dance Institute.
Late Shri Balasaheb Gokhale is my first Guru who introduced me the basic syllables of Kathak i.e. ??, ???, ???, ???, ?, ???, ???, ??? at the tender age of seven. And gradually , I entered into the world of Kathak. Late Shri Balasaheb Gokhale was a great dancer and an equally good harmonium player. He was known for his dance directions in various Marathi films like Saangte Aika, Jagachya Pathivar, Kela Ishara Jata Jata, etc. He also worked as a dance-director for the famous play “Kalidas”. He had been a Guru (teacher) to many famous dancers like Asha Kale, Leela Gandhi, Usha Chavan, Hansa Wadkar, Sanjeevani Beedkar, Jeevankala and so on. I was fortunate enough to have him as my Guru.
After learning the solid and basic foundation course for 6 years, I switched over to Lucknow tradition where I met my second Guru, Smt. Prabhatai Marathe from whom I learnt quite a new and different aspect of Kathak. Smt. Prabhatai is a Gandabandha disciple of Pandit Birju Maharaj jee. She is supposed to be the pioneer to bring Pandit Birju Maharaj-jee’s Lucknow tradition in Pune by establishing “Kalachhaya” , Kathak dance institute in 1965. Now Kalachhaya is turned into a unique Cultural performing art centre which has celebrated its Golden jublee recently. Smt.Prabhatai’s contribution in this field is commendable.
My Third Guru is Pandit Munnalal Shukla Jee under whose tutelage I learnt fine nuances, subtlety of Bhav Abhinay and layakari and various rhythmic patterns in footwork for 12 years. Gandabandha disciple and nephew of Pandit Birju Maharaj, Guru Munnalal Shukla Jee is a genius and gifted artiste. He has taught numerous students including foreigners at Kalachhaya (Pune),also at Bharatiy Kala-kendra & Kathak Kendra(Delhi). He is known and highly appreciated for his unique choreography. He has not only worked enormously on traditional choreography but has also created various visual metaphors and explored abstract themes through his dance.
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