BOSTON-Akritia dynamic team of dancers who have undergone rigorous training in the disciplines of classical Indian dance, will perform songs and dances from the film Bajirao Mastani and the TV show Bandish Bandits at New England Choice Award on November 19, 2022 at the Hilton Woburn Hotel in Woburn, MA.
“This triad highlights the delicate emotions and characterization for which the Kathak storytelling format is famous, while elegantly showcasing technical skill,” said Urmi Samadar, an award-winning Kathak dancer, who leads her professional ensemble, Akriti.
Alongside her career as a dancer, Samadar, who holds an MBA from Wharton, is assistant dean of the master’s program in finance at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Samadar received Kathak training from Guru Sumitra Mitra Mukherjee of Jaipur Gharana fame. Debuted at age nine, she received early recognition as a child artist; performing on Indian National Television, becoming a National Talent Fellow in Kathak and graduating from Sangeet Prabhakar in Kathak from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad.
Through his teaching, Samadar aims to inspire his students’ interest in Indian heritage, to enrich their development through movement and expression, to foster camaraderie among diverse groups through their common pursuit, and to make students accomplished dancers, among other goals.
Recently, Samadar was awarded the prestigious Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program in 2018 and 2022. Awarded by the Mass Cultural Council, this award recognizes a master artist and his apprentice, who are rigorously committed to the pursuit of their art. This year, Urmi receives the award along with her student Nandini Lal, who will also perform at the New England Choice Awards.
Lal is a senior at Boston University Academy. She trained in Kathak for over nine years, while pursuing other dance forms such as modern, jazz and contemporary dance. She has performed with the Samadar troupe, BUA ensembles and at community festivals. She is a recipient of the prestigious 2022 MCC Award; she will immerse herself in an intensive two-year training as an advanced soloist to explore the rigor and richness of Kathak. For Lal, dance is a creative and physical escape from everything else.
Rochester Institute of Technology graduate Varada Krishnadas will also perform at the show with Samadar and Lal. She currently works as a bioinformatics associate at Boston Children’s Hospital. Krishnadas passionately pursues Kathak, both as an advanced student and as an instructor. Inspired by the performances of legends like Pandit Birju Maharaj, Krishnadas sees Kathak as a way to portray many stories and emotions. She hopes to continue her dance journey to bring more stories to the stage for her audience.
“The elegant performances by superb artists are in line with the theme of the NECA Awards emphasizing excellence and creativity,” said Dr. Manju Sheth, MD, creator of the NECA Awards and CEO of INE MultiMedia , a company based in Waltham, MA. (501c-3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting charities, art, culture, education and empowerment. “It is truly an honor for us to present the very talented Urmi Samaddar and her team of dancers.”