Renowned Kathak dancer Maya Rao dead

September 02, 2014 12:44 am | Updated April 20, 2016 04:57 am IST - Bangalore

Maya Rao

Maya Rao

Renowned Kathak dancer Maya Rao, who helped the dance form gain popularity in South India, died here on Monday. She was 86. Known for her mastery over abhinaya and dance ballet, Maya Rao died at a private hospital following a massive cardiac arrest, according to her only daughter Madhu Nataraj, Kathak and contemporary dancer.

Guru to nearly 4,000 students across the globe in about eight decades of her career, she set up the Natya Institute of Dance and Choreography in 1987 here. Scores of her students paid their last respects to “Maya Didi” at the institute at Malleswaram.

Some of her dance ballets such as Amir Khusro, Krishnadevaraya, Vijayanagara Vaibhava, and Masti’s Kaamana Billu are regarded as masterpiece productions in dance.

Maya Rao, recipient of the National Award for Choreography, was born in 1928 in Bangalore, and practised the Lucknow and Jaipur gharana of Kathak having learnt from greats such as Shambhu Maharaj and Sunder Prasad. Armed with a Master’s in Choreography from the USSR in 1964, Maya’s ground-breaking work in choreography has helped thousands of dancers learn the composition and arrangement of dances.

Maya Rao was cremated in the evening.

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