x

Culture

Birju Maharaj, Legend of India’s Kathak Dance form, Dies

January 17, 2022

NEW DELHI — Birju Maharaj, a legend of classical Indian dance and among the country’s most well-known performing artists, died Monday. He was 83.

Maharaj was suffering from a kidney ailment and was undergoing dialysis and likely died of a cardiac arrest, his granddaughter Ragini Maharaj told the Press Trust of India news agency.

Known as Maharaj-ji by his many fans, he was considered an icon of the kathak form of Indian classical dance and was a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award.

He was born into a family of renowned kathak dancers and trained under his uncles and father, Acchan Maharaj, before giving his first performance at the age of 7.

Kathak uses dance and facial expressions to help tell a story, with many dance pieces inspired by ancient Indian epics.

Maharaj was known for his animated facial expressions and light-footed movements, accompanied by the sound of bells he wore around his ankles. He would often draw inspiration from his own life in his performances and was a skillful storyteller.

He was also an acclaimed teacher of kathak and taught students at some of the country’s most premier dance institutions. In the late 1990s, Maharaj opened his own dance school, Kalashram, in the capital New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply saddened” and that his death was an “irreparable loss to the entire art world,” in a tweet.

“Very few artists have been equally good as performers and as teachers. Maharaj ji certainly scaled new heights in both roles,” Indian classical dancer Geeta Chandran posted on Facebook. “His contribution to the world of dance is indeed historic, and will certainly be carried forward by his absolutely amazing tribe of disciples and students.”

“We have lost an unparalleled institution in the field of performing arts. He has influenced many generations through his genius,” singer Adnan Sami said.

 

RELATED

MILAN (AP) — Conductor Gianandrea Noseda made a triumphant return to Teatro alla Scala in an informal role as cultural ambassador, leading the U.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

By Defining Sex, Some States Are Denying Transgender People Legal Recognition

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Mack Allen, an 18-year-old high school senior from Kansas, braces for sideways glances, questioning looks and snide comments whenever he has to hand over his driver's license, which still identifies him as female.

HEMPSTEAD, NY – The Maids of Athena District 6 Lodge held their first ever mid-year conference on February 24 at St.

STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT - Is Michelle Troconis a murderous conspirator who wanted her boyfriend's estranged wife dead and helped him cover up her killing? Or was she an innocent bystander who unwittingly became ensnared in one of Connecticut's most enduring missing person and alleged homicide cases? A state jury heard two different tales of the 49-year-old Troconis as the prosecution and defense made their closing arguments Tuesday in Stamford.

LONDON — Kensington Palace says Britain's Prince William has pulled out of attending a memorial service for his godfather, the late King Constantine of Greece, because of a personal matter.

MONTREAL/NEW YORK – The Maids of Athena (MOA) District 6 (New York) and District 23 (Eastern Canada) Lodges held their first ever inter-district Zoom fundraising event on February 20.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.