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Shobha Koser

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One of the finest Kathak danseuse in India, Dr. Shobha Koser is the Founder and Registrar of Pracheen Kala Kendra, a premier and one of the oldest Indian organizations engaged in the promotion of performing arts. Dr. Koser is a prominent member of advisory bodies of different state governments, reputed organizations and universities in the matter of art and culture.

Dr. Koser has been decorated with the titles of Nritya Shree, Nritya Surabhi, Nritya Urvashi, Shreekshetra Nati and has been honoured with the Amala Shankar Award, Pandit Manmohan Bhatt Memorial Award, the K. Lalitha Lifetime Achievement Award and the Critics Council of India (CCI) Award twice. The Chennai-based Madras Sangeet Natak Akademi has also presented her with Kala Shiromani Award. She has also been presented with Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the Konark International Award, for her eminent position as a performer and the sound theoretical knowledge of Indian classical dances.

She has learnt the intricacies of the Jaipur Gharana of Kathak from Guru Kanhiya Lal and Guru Kundan Lal Gangani, both worthy disciples of Nrityacharya late Guru Narayan Prasad.

SHOBHA KOSER, The great Guru and performer par-excellence

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Born in a well-known medico family of Agra, Shobha Koser is the finest and foremost exponent of Jaipur School of Kathak dance. Her name has not only become synonymous with Kathak but also she has perfected her skill in Kathak in such a manner to create her own distinctive style and signature in her chosen craft.

Blessed as she was by Goddess Saraswati, this distinguished artist of charming personality started showing her innate and prodigious talent when she was four years old. She gave her first performance at the tender age of nine representing the State of Uttar Pradesh at the Inter-state dance conference held in Mumbai where her recital swung the audience in aesthetic enchantment. Thereafter, she looked higher and higher performing on national and international platforms.

She is the only professional Kathak dancer from the North-West region of the country in the post-independence era known for enriching the traditional Kathak of the Jaipur Gharana and maintaining its purity without diluting its fundamental techniques.

TRAINING

Kathak virtuoso Shobha Koser got initial training from Guru Kanhiya Lal, a disciple of Guru Narayan Prasad and later underwent further intensive training under Guru Kundan Lal Gangani, who fortified her talent with the knowledge of all the essentialities and intricacies of the art to the highest degree of perfection. She was fortunate enough to have encouragement from her husband late Sh. Madan Lal Koser who was another great master of classical dances. Such discipline really went a long way in shaping her destiny as an acclaimed dancer not just in India but abroad as well.

EDUCATION

She has adequately equipped herself academically which has made her a well-known experts in Kathak dance. She is having triple MAs with distinction in dance to her credit. She is a first class first in MA (Dance) from the Panjab University, Chandigarh. She has done Nritya Alankar from Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Mandal (Mumbai) and Nritya Praveen from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad.

DANCE STYLE

Known both for the excellence of her technique and abhinaya, she dances with a hypnotic force and subtle sensitivity combining rhythmic virtuosity with delicate expressiveness, commendable, 'taiyaari' with mastery in 'abhinayanga'. She is truly a prodigy of Kathak, her mastery over every aspect of Jaipur Gharana in executing all its finer intricacies, such as Gats, Toras, Tukras, Paran and Chakradhar Paran have, drawn encomiums from the most discerning art critics. Subtlety of footwork, graceful movements and lyrical portrayal of emotions through 'Bhava' are her forte. At one moment she appears to float as delicately as on the wings of a soft spring breeze, at another she whirls around with astonishing verve and vigour in gay abandon.

PERFORMANCES IN INDIA AND ABROAD BEFORE DIGNITARIES

Shobha Koser has an arresting stage presence and that natural grace which cannot be taught but is fundamental to a holistic performance. She dances with such fluid and grace that her presentation becomes a poem choreographed in time and space.

She has given several performances throughout the length and breadth of India and foreign countries including the USA, Canada, England, France, Singapore, Tashkent, Mauritius, South Africa, to name just a few only from the long list of countries.

She has the distinction of having performed before the Indian and foreign dignitaries including Governors, Chief Ministers of different states and Ambassadors.

AS A GURU

Shobha Koser is known as a dedicated guru who has produced a number of students who have become acclaimed dancers, teachers, lecturers and head of dance departments in several schools, colleges and universities. A staunch believer in the Guru-Shishya Parampara, Shobha is an ardent supporter of purity in performing arts. She is against diluting the values for one or the other reason and wants the purity to be preserved at all costs as she voices her opposition to compromise of any sort in such important matters.

CREATIVE CONTRIBUTIONS

Shobha Koser has devoted her entire life for the propagation and promotion of Kathak dance in particular and classical art and culture in general. She is an adept choreographer and has directed and produced a number of ballets such as Amrapali, Kamayani, Kumar Sambhav, Chandralekha, Chandana, Geet-Govinda, Meghadoota, Sagar-Salila, Panchvati, Urvashi Milan, etc. which are widely acclaimed.

She has also written many research-based articles on dance for the leading newspapers of the region besides participating in numerous seminars and conferences.

She has also authored a book titled "Nritya Abhigyan" consisting of both theory and practical aspects of Kathak.

RESEARCH

Shobha Koser is a creative artist par excellence who spends days and nights in research to investigate the best in the art of dance. She has the distinction of ushering in new styles which have further added lustre and beauty to Kathak form of dancing, thereby enhancing its prestige and extending its classical boundaries to new horizons. She is a symbol of dedication to the art of dancing, which has become her lifestyle.

AS AN ART PROMOTER & ORGANISER

Her contribution as an artist and organizer can be matched by few professionals. She has the credit of being the founder-member of internationally-known organization named Pracheen Kala Kendra, which she established along with her husband at Chandigarh in 1956. After the demise of her husband, she is heading the Pracheen Kala Kendra in the capacity of its Registrar-cum-Treasurer.

During the last over five decades Shobha Koser is engaged in organizing cultural programmes by inviting top-notch artists of Indian classical music and dance including budding ones as a result of her distinguished work Chandigarh has been put on the art-map of the world.

ACHIEVEMENTS

She was the Head of the Dance Department, Government College for Girls, Sector 11, Chandigarh, and during more than thirty years of service, she trained a number students who are now ambassadors of her style and sensibility in India and abroad.

She retired as Principal from the Government Post-Graduate College, Mansa (Punjab) as Punjab Education Service (P.E.S.) class-1 officer.

Shobha Koser is an approved examiner of Kathak Dance of Panjab University, Chandigarh, Punjabi University, Patiala, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla.

She has the credit of being a dance expert on the Advisory Bodies of different state governments and reputed organisations.

Shobha Koser is a 'Top Grade' artist of Prasar Bharati (Doordarshan), Broadcasting Corporation of India.

AWARDS AND TITLES

Her creativity and contribution to the art has been admired and appreciated through numerous awards and titles conferred upon her Nritya Shree, Nritya Surabhi, Nritya Urvashi, Nritya Sharada, Shreekshetra Nati, Abhinaya Samaragi, etc.

Shobha Koser has received the Amala Shankar Award, Pandit Manmohan Bhatt Memorial Award, the K. Lalitha Lifetime Achievement Award, Konark International Award, the Kala Shiromani Award by the Madras Sangeet Natak Akademi, the All-India Critics Council of India (CCI) Award twice, and the prestigious Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and recently she has received Lalit Arpan Samman for her tremendous contribution in field of Kathak Dance.

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