Rita Mitra Mustaphi – Artistic Director
Rita Mitra Mustaphi is a native of Kolkata, India. Her Katha Dance Theatre is distinguished by its impeccable technique, its capacity to expand the Indian classical Kathak dance vocabulary and realize new works, and its collaborations across discipline. From 1987 to 2005, while promoting traditional Kathak dance through various dance dramas, she became interested in cross-cultural exploration through collaboration and that is still continuing. In her 27 years of professional dance, she has choreographed more than 50 new works that performed locally, nationally and internationally.
Her selected awards include three McKnight Fellowships for choreography, dancer fellowships award from Minnesota State Arts Board and leadership award from the Council of Asian Pacific Minnesotans, 2011 Lifetime achievement award from the India Association of Minnesota and 2012 Education Award from the Ordway Center of Performing Arts in the category of Excellence in Vision. In 1994, Mustaphi was the company member of the Guthrie Theatre in Minnesota and has performed as a troupe member of Pandit Birju Maharaj at Carnegie Hall, New York. She performed at the prestigious international Kathak Dance Festival, New Delhi, India in 2003 organized by the Kathak Kendra, the National Institute of Kathak dance in India.
While adept in the classical Kathak vocabulary her works infused contemporary sensibility acquired from her intense interest in expression, rhythm works and movement idioms. She believes that her work covers an impressive range, from virtuoso traditional exposition of Kathak dance, through large-scale and always arresting adaptations of classics to boldly innovative creative collaborations with choreographers, designers and musicians. She sees dance as a primary medium of artistic discourse – and through her gift for movement metaphor infuses poetic, emotional meaning into a satisfying creative blend.