Kasturi Mishra

Kasturi Mishra is a renowned Kathak dancer, choreographer, and teacher, currently serving as the Artistic Director of Gharana Arts. She hails from a lineage of esteemed Indian classical artists of the Lucknow Gharana. Her Grandfather Pt. Ramnarayan Mishra learned from the greatest Kathak artists of his generation: Pt. Achan Maharaj, Pt. Lachu Maharaj, and Pt. Shambhu Maharaj.

Kasturi’s journey in dance began under the tutelage of her father, Pt. Bachanlal Mishra, a revered Kathak artist and distinguished dance guru. Kasturi’s knowledge of the Lucknow Gharana is profound, and her mastery blends the graceful, lyrical elements of the Lucknow school with dynamic, powerful rhythms. Her performances at prestigious festivals across India have garnered her numerous certifications from the Prayag Sangeet Samiti and national awards from Rabindra Bharati University and Bangiyo Sanskriti Parishad.

Her dance career has been profoundly shaped by her Guru and uncle, Pt. Chitresh Das, whose virtuosity and mastery in classical Kathak have been a source of deep inspiration. His unwavering dedication to the art form has instilled in Kasturi a steadfast commitment to preserving the traditional aspects of Kathak. This influence has not only enriched her own knowledge and artistry but has also fueled her passion to uphold and perpetuate the cultural heritage of this ancient dance.

A devoted educator, Kasturi began teaching at Ram Narayan Sangeet Kala Kendra in 2000 and later at Nritya Bharati in Kolkata in 2004. Her expertise was internationally recognized when she was invited by the Government of France in 2004 to perform and conduct workshops on Indian classical dance and culture, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Indians in Guadeloupe. Her solo performance at “Kathak at the Crossroads” in San Francisco in 2006 further solidified her standing in the global Kathak community. Kasturi’s remarkable was the subject of a short documentary “Krishna’s Dancer,” directed by Dirk Hilbert. It was awarded the jury award for “Best Documentary” at Dance Screen 2007 in Amsterdam and was an “official selection” at WOMEX 2008 in Seville.

Kasturi’s expertise in composition and history of the Lucknow Gharana is unparalleled, and she has composed numerous pieces and full-length choreographies that showcase her deep understanding and creative vision. Notable works include “Retrospective” (2015), “Shishya Sadhna” (2016), and “Sleeping Beauty” (2018). Her solo performances, such as “Shakuntala” (2023), have captivated audiences and critics alike, highlighting her technical prowess and emotive storytelling.

As a choreographer, Kasturi’s creativity knows no bounds. She has an exceptional ability to mold her students into strong, competent, and confident dancers, inspiring many with her innovative approach and dedication to the art. Her teaching methods are rooted in the traditional Guru-Shishya Parampara, ensuring that her students receive a holistic and profound education in Kathak.

Kasturi continues to be a formidable presence in the Indian dance scene, known for her in-depth knowledge and historical insights into Kathak. She is a passionate advocate for empowerment through dance, using her platform to promote the cultural heritage of India and support the development of young artists. Her contributions to Kathak and her unwavering commitment to her students and the art form have earned her immense respect and admiration in the dance community. Her work continues to inspire and empower the next generation of dancers, ensuring that the rich traditions of Kathak thrive both in Canada and around the world.