Kathak dance is an ancient story-telling dance form, originally performed by bards to narrate the stories of gods and goddesses in the temples of Northern India. Asha Vattikuti has spent a lifetime working and studying the art of Kathak dance, having first learned it from leading Kathak masters as a child in India. She has been teaching Kathak for the past twenty years, first in Detroit, Michigan, and then in Northern Virginia, and has trained several young dancers to the professional level. Asha has performed, both as a solo dancer and with her troupe, extensively in India, the United States, and Canada. She has also produced and choreographed several dance productions of Kathak with many of the leading dancers of India. Asha’s apprentice, Janhavi Kirtane, has been studying dance since her childhood, and hopes one day to teach the Kathak tradition to others.
I don’t have a set plan or schedule for Janhavi. It’s not like “today we do this, next week we do that.” We take each step only when she’s ready. In Kathak, every movement, in fact every joint and every muscle in your body, is very conscious and deliberate. To be a good dancer it takes a tremendous amount of time and dedication. Will Janhavi have the level of dedication necessary? I don’t know. But I can tell you, she has the makings of a very good dancer.