Janaki Patrik [Kathak Exponent]
Janaki Patrik has been trained in Kathak classical north Indian dance, Hindustani vocal and tabla drumming at the Kathak Kendra, New Delhi, during intensive training periods beginning in 1967, by Kathak Guru Padma Vibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj, vocalist Vidushi Siddheswari Devi and percussionist Sri Purushottam Das. Also trained in music and dance idioms of the United States, Janaki studied classical western flute under Donald Peck, first flutist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as ballet and modern dance. Awarded a Merce Cunningham Studio scholarship in 1971, she studied Cunningham technique, repertory and choreography from 1971 to 1978.
Since poetry lies at the foundation of Kathak technique, repertoire and performance practice, Janaki has acquired facility in many of the major languages and dialects of north India, including Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu, Braj and Maithili. She received a Senior Research Fellowship from the Fulbright Foundation in 1988/89 to study the poetry of the Kathak dance repertoire, and an American Institute of Indian Studies Language Fellowship to study Hindi in India in 1994. She received her Master of Arts from Columbia University, The Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures in May 2000.
Co-founder of The Kathak Ensemble & Friends in 1978, Janaki has performed both classical Kathak and her own choreography in the United States, Canada and India at venues including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and Asia Society in New York City, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, Premier Dance Theatre in Toronto, the Philadelphia Museum and the Indian International Center in New Delhi. Her recent full-evening productions include Ka-Tap, interweaving Kathak with tap dance, and Hindustani music with jazz; MANDALA X, an orchestral setting of the ancient Indian Rig Vedic "Hymn of Creation" with a 30-voice chorus, mixed Indian and western instrumental and vocal soloists, a Vedic chanter, and a multi-ethnic ensemble of nine dancers; NewYorkDelhiMix with six Kathak and six tap dancers, four Hindustani and four jazz musicians, whose rhythmic, melodic and social exchanges evoke an on-stage party; and POWER PLAY:Shakti Leela, including ten modern and classical Indian dancers and commissioned music composed by Sri Lankan-born Dinuk Wijeratne, played by a mixed ensemble of nine Western and Hindustani musicians.
Active in the field of arts-in-education, Janaki and The Kathak Ensemble's education unit, CARAVAN, illuminate Indian culture through the arts. Caravan's performances and residencies at schools and cultural institutions in the Tri-State area are facilitated by Young Audiences/New York, Young Audiences/New Jersey, Music for Many and the Henry Street Settlement. In April 2005 by invitation of Carnegie Hall's Education Department CARAVAN presented a demonstration performance on the Main Stage preceeding YoYo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble Family Program. In April Caravan also performed at Asia Society and the Queens Museum of Art in conjunction with their exhibitions of contemporary Indian art, relating traditional symbols and concepts of Indian visual and performing arts to their contemporary transformations.
Janaki has been invited three times to guest-teach at Juilliard School in New York City, and she also teaches classical Kathak in group, workshop and private classes.
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