Rani Karnaa

Born in 1939 in Hyderabad, Sindh, now in Pakistan Shrimati Rani Karnaa Nayak received her initial training in Kathak dance from Mohan Lal and Hira Lal. Later, between 1950 and 1964, she was trained by Pandit Narayan Prasad and Sunder Prasad of the Jaipur gharana and Pandit Shambhu Maharaj and Birju Maharaj of the Lucknow gharana. She also learnt Bharatanatyam from Lalita Sastri, Manipuri from Narendra Kumar Singh, and Odissi dance from gurus Hare Krishna Behera and Kelucharan Mohapatra. She was among the early recipients of the Government of India scholarships for dance. Rani Karnaa has distinguish- ed herself as a Kathak dancer over a long performance career. Making a mark initialy in the Inter-University Youth Festivals of the 1950s, she has performed extensively in national and international events. She has an integrated style blending the two schools of Kathak with her own approach to Kathak aesthetics, developed under the guidance of the aesthetician S.K. Saxena. She has enriched the dance with notable compositions and has contributed to various semi- nars, projects on dance. Rani Karnaa has taught Kathak at Sangeet Bharati, Delhi, and later at the Calcutta School of Music. She now has her own dance school Sanskritiki Shreyaskar, in Calcutta. Shrimati Rani Karnaa Nayak receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her contribution to Kathak dance.