Pt. Birju Maharaj is a name that’s synonymous with Kathak everywhere. There is not a Kathak aspirant in the world today who is not inspired by his unique style and panache. Pt. Birju Maharaj has been a leading light in the classical dance field for nearly 75 years and his signature style of the Lucknow gharana of Khatak has had followers the world over. He has also helped in creating some iconic moments on the silver screen with Madhuri Dixit’s Kahe Ched Mohe from the 2002 blockbuster movie Devdas and also with Deepika Padukone for Mohe Rang Do Laal from the 2015 movie Bajirao Mastani.
Source – Indian Express
Pt. Birju Maharaj’s own institute Kalashram was formed in order to protect, preserve and promote the classical art form of Kathak. Hundreds of students learn at the institute and have gone on to present a number of iconic choreographies that have appealed to the masses. The most recent one being performed by Pt. Birju Maharaj’s disciple Saswati Sen on the dance reality show Dance Plus (Season 3).
Taking the efforts of the institute further this year, Kalasham has organised the Kalashram Kathak Contest which is the first of its kind contest for the best dancers from across the country. Performers have competed from various cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Kolkata and even London. The winner of the contest would be crowned the Pt. Birju Maharaj Crown, which would be the highest honour for any young Indian artist in India.
The event is set to take place at the Tata Theatre, NCPA (National Centre for Performing Arts) on the 21st of December. The event will showcase the finalists from seven Indian cities. It will also include Kathak Kaleidoscope, a traditional and innovative choreography by Pt. Birju Maharaj along with performances by various celebrities. There will also be a power-packed performance by over sixteen Kathak dancers for the Grand Finale which is also choreographed by Pt. Birju Maharaj.
The event is also set to be attended by Sajan Misra, Anup Jalota, Shekhar Sen, Madhuri Dixit, Charu Sharma, Guru Kumudini Lakhia, Kailash Kher, Remo Fernandes, Sandip Soparrkar and others.