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Amita Dutt, Uday Shankar Professor of Dance and Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, has been serving the world of Kathak for more than two decades.

Groomed in the strictest classical traditions under Pdt. Birju Maharaj, Prof. Bela Arnab, Pdt. Vijay Shankar and other leading maestros of the premier Kathak gharanas, Amita dances with a hypnotic force and subtle sensitivity combining rhythmic virtuosity with delicate expressiveness, commendable, ‘taiyaari’ with mastery in ‘abhinayanga’. In her art we find a successful blend of tradition and talent, environmental totality as well as breathtaking dynamism. Her innovative, analytic mind has also constantly encouraged her to experiment with new ideas-thus expanding the boundaries of Kathak.

Amita DuttHaving her roots in Calcutta, Amita has performed far and wide across three continents. Among her innumerable dance recitals in prestigious dance and music festivals, mention may be made of the Khajuraho Dance Festival, the Konark Festival, Utsav Mahakaleshwar, Rajgir Mahotsav, the Biswa Banga Millennium Festival, the First South Asian Festival of SAARC Countries, the India Festival in USSR, the American Dance Festival, Uday Shankar Festival, Sarat Chandrika Festival, North American Bengali Conference, Nritya Nitya Utsav, the Young Choreographers Festival, Bishnupur Tourism Festival, the India Festival at Singapore entitled Incredible India  @ 60, China Kunming International Culture and Tourism Festival and many more.

During the Autumn Festival of 1990 at Darjeeling, when the President of India, Sri R, Venkataraman, came as the Chief Guest, the Governor of West Bengal Prof. Nurul Hassan invited Amita to present her traditional dance and choreographic composition Durga. She also performed for the official government function for the Golden Jubilee of Indian Independence at Patna (1997).

During the visit of the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe to Kolkata, Amita performed in the lead with her University troupe in her own choreographic creations on Tagore’s songs. She has also popularized her dance by performing at academic conferences and institutions.

In addition to giving solo recitals, Amita has been experimenting with new choreographic patterns blending pure Kathak movements with popular songs and innovative themes and has staged a number of very successful choreographic productions including Durga, Chitra Jhankar, Nazrul nana Chande, Biswa Beena Robey, East West Encounter, Joyodhwani, Amrapali, Dash Avatar, Varsha and Basant-Bahar.

She has given three recitals for the National Programme of Dance on Doordarshan. Her performances have also been telecast over various channels innumerable times both in India and abroad including USA, Germany, Hungary and the former USSR. Her interviews over the radio and the television in various parts of the world have spread the message of Kathak far and wide.

Amita DuttBesides being an excellent dancer Amita is also a brilliant student of English Literature and a Gold Medallist of the Calcutta University.

Her academic background has helped her to popularize her dance form through her prolific publications in major books and journals such as Bhakti in Indian Classical Dances (Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad), Desh Binodon 1987 (Special Issue on Dance), The Statesman Festival Number 1990, Special Independence Golden Jubilee Issue of Desh and Dance Specials of Nandan. Papers on major aspects of dance written by her have been published in various departmental Journals of Rabindra Bharati University and Gauhati University and in Rabindra Bharati University Convocation Volumes 2005 and 2006. Amita’s Kathak Mahotsav (monograph) was published by Kathak Kendra, New Delhi and she is a regular contributor to the dance sections of The Statesman, Aajkaal and Bartamaan and has written for The Hindustan Times, Sananda, Pratidin, Business Economics, Dainik Statesman, West Bengal and Paribartan.

Her conference paper - The Resurgence of Indian Classical Dance in the Twentieth Century: Colonial Inheritance or Indigenous Self Fashioning? - presented at an international seminar of the  Department of English, Calcutta University, has been published in the volume ‘Colonial and Post Colonial Perspectives: Context, Text, Intertext’. Edited by Krishna Sen & Tapati Gupta. (Published by Das Gupta and Co. Pvt. Ltd., Kolkata. 2007.) Her article Bhakti in Indian Dance features in the volume ‘Religion and Art’ edited by J.K.Sadani and published by Bharatiya Sahitya Samsad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Kolkata. 2007.

Her contributions in cultural encyclopedias include ‘Some Indian Dance Forms: Kathaka, Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi’ in Aesthetic Theories and Forms in Indian Tradition Vol. VI Part I (Ed.) Kapila Vatsayan & D.P.Chattopadhyaya - A Project of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture, Centre for Studies in Civilization, New Delhi, 2009 and three sections: ‘Kathak Dance: Origin and Variations of Gharana’, ‘Technique of Kathak Dance’ and ‘Hasta Mudras in Indian Dance’ in Vol. VI Performing Arts in Indian Culture: Encyclopaedic Survey in Eight Volumes edited by Jaikishandas Sadani, Bharatiya Vidya Mandir, Jaipur & Kolkata, 2008.

Amita’s moving deliberations in seminars and conferences all over the world in academic conferences and other forums have helped to spread the message of her dance. The Tagore Festival at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA featured Amita as the Key-note Speaker (Tagore on Education) as well as the star performer (2004).

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