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ROHINI BHATE (1924-2008)

Rohini Bhate was a Bharatnatyam and Kathak dancer. She was born in Patna and went to school in Pune. She graduated from Fergusson College in 1946 and founded the Nrityabharati Kathak Dance Academy at Pune in 1947. While in college she was exposed to Bharatnatyam under Guru Parvati Kumar. She also received training in Hindustani music under Keshavrao Bhole and Vasantrao Deshpande, so that she often composed the music for her productions as well. She then went on to do a doctorate in Kathak. She studied this dance form under Pandit Lacchu Maharaj and Pandit Mohan Rao Kalyanpurkar. Her deep knowledge of both styles gave her dance a unique and rich quality. A scholar as well as a performer, she wrote her autobiography in Marathi, Majhi Nrityasadhana, and translated I, Isadora, the autobiography of Isadora Duncan, as Mi Isadora. She also translated and edited the Sanskrit manual Abhinaya Darpana as Kathak Darpan Deepika. She advised Khairagarh University and Lalit Kala Kendra, University of Pune, on the teaching of kathak and other dance forms.

She received the Kalidas Samman and the, the Maharashtra Rajya Puraskar in 1977, and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1979, and the Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar in 1990. She became a Fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2006 and received the Akademi Ratna Award in 2007. She trained hundreds of dancers at her centre, but in later years was afflicted with Parkinson’s disease and died as a result of complications from it.
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