Anjani Ambegaokar came to the United States in 1967 from her native India and has since become the most well known dancer, choreographer, and educator of Kathak in the nation. Kathak, a popular but very complex form of North Indian dance with a 4,000-year history, tells stories of ancient mythology incorporating fast tempo barefoot rhythms with ankle bells and distinctive, graceful hand gestures and facial expressions. Anjani began her training in Kathak dance over fifty years ago, studying with the great master teacher Guru Pandit Sundarlaljee Gangani in India. She also holds an M.A. degree in Kathak dance from the M.S. University of Baroda, India.
Her school, the Sundar Kala Kandra Dance School, has trained hundreds of dancers, while her company, Anjani’s Kathak Dance of India, has performed around the world. Anjani trained her daughter, Amrapali, now the principal dancer of her company who recently performed as the lead dancer in the Cirque du Soleil’s touring production Dralion.
Anjani has also taught at universities, offering seminars such as the “Landscape of Mathematics,” demonstrating how Kathak rhythms can be applied to understanding mathematical theories. She served as a guest lecturer in the Dance Department at the University of California, Irvine from 1998-2003. She has also given guest lectures and masterclasses at universities throughout the Southland including: University of California Los Angeles (Departments of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and Ethnomusicology), California Institute of the Arts, University of California San Diego, University of California Riverside, San Diego State University, El Camino College, Cal Poly Pomona, Santa Monica College, and Claremont Colleges as well as out of state at: University of Hawaii Honolulu, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, and University of Iowa.
Anjani has received multiple distinctions throughout her career. In 2004 she received the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Award and in 1999 and 2000 she was nominated for Lester Horton Awards in both teaching and costumes.
Company and School Website: http://www.sundarkalakendra.org/DanceCompany.htm
Narthaki: Interview (Mar 2001) http://www.narthaki.com/info/intervw/intrvw19.html
News East West: Interview (Apr 2013) http://newseastwest.com/how-just-one-woman-called-anjani-ambegaokar-put-kathak-on-the-dance-map-of-america/
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