Kathak danseuse Maya Rao no more

Kathak danseuse  Maya Rao no more

Veteran Kathak dancer and choreographer Maya Rao passed away in Bangalore Sunday midnight. She was 86.

Maya Rao, who was running Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography at Malleswaram in the City, complained of acute chest pain after having her dinner on Sunday. She was rushed to a hospital where she suffered a heart attack and died.

The last rites were performed at Harishchandra Ghat on Monday evening, sources close to the octogenarian dancer told Deccan Herald.

Rupa Murthy, a student of Maya Rao, said, “She was fit and fine. However, during dance rehearsals on Sunday, she complained of tiredness and fatigue. It happened all of a sudden.”

Born on May 2, 1928, Maya Rao, know as ‘Kathak guru’, received the lifetime achievement award for her contributions to dance and choreography at the Epic Women Conference in 2013. She was a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi award as well as the Shantala award given by the Karnataka government

. She had received Emeritus Fellowship from the Ministry of Human Resource Development and an honorary doctorate from Bangalore University.

Maya Rao was trained in Kathak under Shambu Maharaj of the Lucknow Gharana and Sunderprasad of the Jaipur Gharana. She had a postgraduate certificate in choreography from the then USSR.

She had been invited to Europe, the US and Russia on many occasions as a consultant choreographer and as a jury member for international projects. The Kathak guru has trained over 3,000 students and her daughter Madhu Nataraj is also an acclaimed dancer and choreographer.

During her tenure as the chairperson of the Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy from 1987 to 1990, she had initiated National Performing Arts Festivals at heritage monuments such as Somanathpura, Pattadakkal and Halebid.

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