Kiran Segal

Born in 1944 in Dehradun, now the Capital of Uttaranchal, Shrimati Kiran Segal was initiated into dance by her mother Shrimati Zohra Segal, the eminent actress and dancer. Zohra Segal and her husband Kameshwar Segal had been members of Uday Shankar’s dance ensemble and later worked in Prithviraj Kapoor’s touring repertory company Prithvi Theatres. Kiran Segal found her bearings in dance through her performances as a child artist in Prithvi Theatres and in the1960s entered into the study of Bharatanatyam. Among her teachers were gurus Sadashiv Shetty, Nana Kasar, and K.J. Govindarajan. She also learnt Carnatic music at this stage from Meera Seshadri, and had earlier studied Kathak under Suneeta Gowala. Eventually, in the 1970s and 1980s, she trained in Odissi dance under Guru Mayadhar Raut and found her true métier in that dance. Shrimati Kiran Segal is recognized today as one of the foremost artists in the field of Odissi dance. Her performan- ces are distinguished by the spiritual intensity of her abhinaya and an extraordinary beauty of movement. She has enriched Odissi dance with her many compositions including the Panchakshara Stotram, a prayer to Lord Shiva. She has also devoted her energies to the propagation of Odissi dance among young people, choreo- graphing productions for them and holding workshops and lecture-demonstrations. She has performed in a number of prestigious arts events including the Avignon Festival of 1977 and the Festival of India in the U.S.S.R. (1986-7). Shrimati Kiran Segal is a recipient of several honours for her work including the Parishad Samman conferred by the Sahitya Kala Parishad Delhi (1986), and a Certificate of Recognition from the University of Costa Rica (1985). She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2002. Shrimati Kiran Segal receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her contribution to Odissi dance.