Kathak Dancer Sangeeta Majumder rich with facial expression
Sangeeta Majumder, the passionate Kathak dancer has spelled a charm by depicting the soulful language with her beautiful facial expression and graceful body movements of Lucknow Gharana. Her vibrant style of dancing illustrates a promising dancer of this Gharana with the blessings of her gurus and audiences in a very small span of time.
A peek into the dancer’s rise
Sangeeta is the first generation dancer in her family who chose her career in the field of Kathak dance. This exceptionally talented and creative danseuse is an impaneled artist of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations.
She has learned under the guidance of Pandit Deepak Maharaj in Kalashram – the institution of the world’s most celebrated Kathak Guru Padmavibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj.
She has also been fortunate to learn from Pandit Rammohan Maharaj in the famous institution Sriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, New Delhi, India and still continuing with him in guru-shishya parampara.
Sangeeta is a First Class Master Degree holder in Kathak Dance from Punjabi University, Patiala and Diploma with Distinction in ‘Kathak’ from Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh. This multi-faceted young dancer also holds a Master’s Degree in English from the ‘University of Calcutta’. She keeps on updating herself with knowledge and thus she is pursuing her Ph.D.
She has conducted workshops in different leading schools organized by Sahitya Kala Parishad, (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi). Her choreography for Bani Vidya Mandir won the award for the performance in the All Bengal Inter-School Competition, organized by West Bengal Government. She got the privilege to conduct a workshop with Vidushi Mamta Maharaj in Punjab Kala Bhawan, Chandigarh. She has assisted Pandit Ram Mohan Maharaj in the choreography for the Republic Day Parade in the front of the former President of India Smt. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil and other distinguished guests.
Performance in India and abroad
Sangeeta has been acknowledged for her spirited movements in festivals like World Dance Day, Festival organised by Kalashram & ICCR, New Delhi, Patna Mahotsav, Vasant Utsav, Holi Utsav, Ballet Festival by Sriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, New Delhi, Noida Shilpotsav, Uttar Pradesh, Baba Allaudin Sangeet Samaroh, Maihar, M.P., Bhubaneswar Music Circle and ICCR in Bhubaneswar. She has performed for many more reputed organizations such as the Constitution Club of India, Andhra Pradesh Bhawan different performing arts institutions, universities in different cities in India including Indian Council For Cultural Relations, Ministry of Culture and Sangeet Natak Academy.
Sangeeta performed in very prestigious ‘Manuel Belgrano Auditorium’ of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Cancilleria) organized by the ‘Indian Embassy. She has been felicitated by the Ambassador of France to Argentina. Also, she performed at ‘Tres de Febrero’ for the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Education at ‘Teatro del Viejo Consejo’, organized by ‘San Isidro Municipality Auditorium’ Argentina. She performed in another province of Chaco, in Resistencia for ‘Council of International Dance – UNESCO’ in association with ‘Indian Embassy’ and in Mendoza at ‘Club Serio’. She conducted workshops at ‘Teatro Independencia’, the cultural hub in Mendoza, in different schools of performing arts in Buenos Aires, and Resistancia. She had a pleasure to talk (seminar) on Indian Classical Dance in ‘CARI- Argentine Council for International Relations’.
In 2016 she represented India by rending Kathak in front of a Slovak audience at an India special evening organized by Ars Poetica Festival, Cultural Ministry of Slovakia and Embassy of India in Slovakia. She also collaborated with Poet Sonnet Mondal presenting a simultaneous dance and poetry rendition titled ‘Echoing Shadows’.
In 2017, she performed in Hungary at various places like PostArt in Budaors and Shambhala, Tibet Centre, Art Gallery in Budapest. In the same year, she performed at Radio Romania in Romania and at The Tagore Centre – Embassy of India, Berlin.
In 2018, she performed in London for ‘Incredible India’ at London Excel and at the High Commission of India. Also, she conducted a workshop in Zurich, Switzerland and Paris, France.
Besides, she has performed in Nepal (Kathmandu), Bangladesh (Dhaka), Bhutan (Thimphu) and Dubai. She is not only a true stage performer; she is a professor of Kathak having students from all over the world.
Awards & Honours
Sangeeta has been honoured with the ‘Women Empowerment Legendary Award’ by India-Afghanistan Foundation in 2019. In 2018, she was felicitated with National Kathak Dance Promotion Award by the ‘World Spiritual Parliament’ at the Spiritual and Value Education Summit in 2018. She was awarded certificate by Sangeet Natak Academy (Ministry of Culture, India) and Naad Nartan Journal of Dance & Music for presenting a research paper at a National Seminar on “Traditional music, Dance and E-Learning” in 2016. She was honoured with the Award and the Title ‘Nrithya Vilasini’ on the prestigious festival of Indian Classical Dance, Nrithyati (presented by Mr. S Chandrasekhar. CEO, Bhilai, Steel Plant) in 2016. She was felicitated by the Ambassador of India in Argentina, Mr. Amarendra Khatua, in 2015 for giving performance extensively in Argentina as one of the young and accomplished artists of India and the first Bengali to have presented Kathak there. She was also honoured by ‘ Estudio Integral De Danzas Wings’, Resistencia, Argentina in 2015. In the same year, she was honoured in ‘Baba Allaudin Khan Sangeet Samaroh’. She has received ‘Roll of Honour’ from Government College for Girls, Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab for securing the First position in Masters Degree exam. She has been felicitated by Padma Bhushan Awardee Pandit Debu Chaudhuri at the ‘Ustad Mushtaq Ali Khan Festival in 2014. She is also the recipient of the very prestigious Award from Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Academy in the Kathak Competition for securing the First position in 2013. She was also Felicitated by Padma Vibhushan Awardee Pandit Birju Maharaj in the Graduation Ceremony of Kalashram ’12. She has received the Title ‘Nritya Gaurav’ and ‘Pride of Kolkata’ by Award Council of India, Lucknow in the year 2012. She was Awarded the “Meera Award” in the year 2009 for the ‘Excellence in Kathak dance’ from Agra, Uttarpradesh. Her choreography for Bani Vidya Mandir won the award for the performance in the All Bengal Inter-School Competition, organized by West Bengal Government ’07. She has held the First position in Kathak and was felicitated from Sur-O-Taal, Pracheen Kala Kendra.
In a tete-a-tete with Kalinga TV web portal Sangeeta revealed her heart as follows:
What does dance means to you?
Dance does not only gives me the opportunity to express my true-self but sharpens many qualities in me like leadership and decision-making capabilities.”
Dance, itself is a beautiful way of showing creativity. A dancer is not good or bad as each individual has some distinctive capabilities and thoughts. These days, we easily come to a conclusion about any performing artist whether s/he is good or bad or number one or number ten. I believe there is no parameter to judge whether an artist is good or bad.
What led you to become a dancer?
Mostly in the Bengali family, children are encouraged to join in some activities. I also joined the classes for music, dance, and painting. Out of these, dance used to give me immense pleasure. In my home, my mother Mrs. Shila Devi and my cousin Sri Sandipan Sarkar were my first gurus and source of encouragement in my tender mind. I never ignored my higher studies; I used to practice dance for my inner self. Later, I realized that if I can take my passion as my profession, nothing can be better than that. Then the love from my audience encouraged me to take it seriously. Gradually, by God’s grace, I got the opportunities to perform in different places around the world. So today I am considered a dancer.
What specialty makes you different from other Kathak dancers?
It’s not like that I’ve some special features to differentiate myself from the successful kathak dancers. Only thing is that I want to add something to this rich traditional art form. I may sound bit ambitious or pompous but I’m really trying to think differently.
I’ve seen at this present era audiences have movies, internet, digital platforms to be entertained. They no more visit temples to listen to ‘Katha’ from the Kathak. Those go to the auditorium; they expect to see something new. Hence, in 2011, along with Sri Neel Ranjan Mukherjee I came up with ‘Strings N Steps’- An amalgamation of Hawaiian guitar and Kathak, which shows a ‘Jugalbandi’ (duet) of Indian classical music on an instrument and Indian classical dance Kathak. It got appreciation in India and abroad. Next is Indian English poetry- Kathak project ‘Echoing Shadows’ with poet Sonnet Mondal which was staged in Slovakia in 2016 for a prestigious festival. The third project I’m doing is Kathak on the short stories by the Nobel laureate ‘Kaviguru’ Rabindranath Tagore.
Why do you choose Kathak?
I have learned many dance forms in both western and Indian genre simultaneously in my initial days but Kathak was the one which I started falling for, and your first love is always very special. So I got emotionally attached to this dance form. Though I like all the dance forms l just love flowing with the movements of Kathak.
Why you choose Lucknow Gharana?
The elegance of Lucknow Gharana always attracted me and when my guruji Pandit Rammohan Maharaj taught me the ‘abhinaya’ I was totally spelled bound. My other guruji Pandit Deepak Maharaj taught me the sparkling aspects of Kathak.
Do you adopt a balanced diet program?
I’m a big foodie. I eat chocolate and sweet almost every day. These keep my mood in its best possible way and I feel energetic.
You have performed in Odisha. How did you find the audience here?
I have performed at the prestigious auditorium, Rabindra mandap in Bhubaneswar. Audiences are totally fond of good music and dance and they know how to appreciate it. Also, Odisha is very close to my heart for Lord Jagannath Dev.
Anything in Odisha that inspires you to dance?
Definitely, the temples, the sea, and the beautiful nature persuade me to dance when I see them. The sculptures in Konarak Sun Temple is really inspiring. I have had a photoshoot in this beautiful temple. It is one of my best photoshoot ever.