Chitra Chandrasekhar Dasarathy
The Artiste Sensitivity and delicate yet powerful balance of nritta (pure movement in dance) and abhinaya (the expressive or dramatic art in dance) mark the spell-bounding dance of Chitra Chandrasekhar Dasarathy, a senior seasoned artist of Bharata Natyam. Bharatanatyam is an Indian classical dance that simultaneously holds within it the deep roots of historical artistic meaning and the agility that allows it to evolve, be universal and contemporary in today's world. Chitra integrates her mastery of the dance form, literature, and Indian music (both classical and folk) to create a visual painting of relevant human stories across time. In one powerful choreography, she shows us the struggles of a woman who has to come to terms with having to let go of her child in her teenage years by invoking Kunti from Mahabharata. "Kunti is one of the most poignant recitals one has witnessed, where the dancer became one with the character, and communicated with her audience at the deepest level," says dance critic Jyothi Raghuram in Bangalore. In another she shakes us to our roots when she shows how both nature (the environment) and women have faced violence through history and yet brings us to hope and strength as we see their most essential quality- that of resilience and regeneration. Her understanding and intuitive sensitivity stands out in her productions as audiences are moved by both the power of the performance and that of the music. It is our honor to invite an artist who through her performance creates a powerful environment where we come in touch with our own humanity and reflect on life's soul-stirring situations.
Mrs. Maneesha Sathe, one of the senior Kathak exponents of India, has been trained initially with Pandit Balasaheb Gokhale in Pune and later with none other than Kathak Maestro Nataraj Pandit Gopi Krishna in Mumbai. For the last 42 years, she has been running Maneesha Nrityalaya Trust in Pune, an institute dedicated to the field of Kathak dance.
She has performed Kathak in many conferences and dance festivals in different parts of India, including the most renowned Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav, Khajuraho Dance Festival, Lucknow Dance Festival, Nehru Centre - Mumbai, Tata Theatre- Mumbai, etc. She has also performed in almost all parts of the world, individually and also with her troupe. Her choreographies in Classical and Contemporary Kathak dance form have been revered by one and all in dance festivals of high esteem.
She has also won laurels for presenting Kathak along with Japanese Music. Maneesha Sathe and Mr. Yasuhito Takimoto- a Japanese musician and Taiko player- have given the most unforgettable fusion concerts in India and Japan, over last 24 years. "World Peace Art Festival", "Divine Confluence" have been some of the recent programs presented through this collaboration. More than a hundred Indians, Chinese and Japanese artists have been a part of these events in India, Japan and China.
She has choreographed Marathi Films and they have won her Best Dance Director's awards (State award and Alpha TV award) while one has been record breaking hit in the history of Marathi Cinema. She is the recipient many accolades like the Maharashtra State Cultural Award for the year 2006, Citadel Excellence award, Vijaya Bhalerao Puraskar (awarded by Gaanvardhan Pune) to name a few.
Several of her students have been awarded scholarships by CCRT and Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Human Resources. She is a guide for Ph.D. students in Pune University. Apart from training young talent in her own dance school, Maneesha Sathe is a visiting faculty and Guru in institutions like the Centre for Performing Arts- University of Pune, Videocon Academy and Bharati Vidyapeeth. She is known to be a highly sympathetic and generous teacher who has given many young dancers to the Indian Dance field, one of them being her own daughter Shambhavi Dandekar.
Shambhavi Dandekar is a name synonymous with grace and poise. She is the Indian classical Kathak dancer par excellence who has dazzled the world with her performances and choreography. Her institution Shambhavi's International School of Kathak or SISK has made its presence felt around the world with branches in India and USA, training over 400 students, with a staff of 10 teachers who are her own students.
Her forte is her pure traditional solo rendition which was nurtured from training under her own mother Guru Maneesha Sathe and from Tabla virtuoso Taalyogi Pandit Suresh Talwalkar. She has a Bachelor's degree in Commerce, two Masters in Dance and Diplomas in French and Sanskrit languages. Her stage presence leaves an everlasting impact on the audience. Her ability of storytelling thru Kathak is unparalleled. She is known for her excellent rapport with diverse audiences. Her dance has a certain meditative quality, which is often talked about.
She has performed in Japan, China, Middle East, Canada, Australia and Singapore; needless to mention many reputed venues and dance festivals in India and USA. She is a member of the International Dance Council of UNESCO. 'Singaar Mani', 'Nritya Ratna', 'Bharatashree', 'Kala Teertha' are some of the prestigious titles awarded to her in India. She is also a proud recipient of 'Pu La Deshpande Youth Award'. She is an A grade artist of Indian National Television. Her performances and interviews have been telecast on TV channels of USA, Australia, Japan, Singapore and India.
She has a vast experience in teaching undergraduate and graduate level at various dance education institutions and universities in India, including the Performing Arts Centers at Pune University and Bharati Vidyapeeth University. Her intellectual analysis of the form and content of Kathak paired with rigorous teaching regimen has resulted in producing an array of promising students. May of them are making a mark as budding Kathak professionals. She guides performers and students all over the world through workshops and master classes.