Purnima Jha

An exponent of Kathak Dance - the dancer with a lyrical charm



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As inheritor of both styles of classical North Indian tradition, Purnima Jha is a foremost exponent of both the softer, fluid, more expressive Lucknow, and the rhytmically controlled dynamic Jaipur styles of Kathak dance. Trained by her father, Shanker Dev Jha, legendary dancer and primary guru of Kathak dance, she carries on a dance lineage that traces back 2,500 years. She lives this legacy by sharing the movements, legend, and philosophies of this art form through the ancient discipline her father passed on to her. At the age of four her first performance was before the Dalai Lama of Tibet. As a young adult she performed and taught throughout India developing a reputation as the heiress of Kathak dance. Indian National Television broadcasted a documentary film of her performance of Kathak dance for public, educational, historical and archival purposes - an honor seldom bestowed on dancers.

She was invited to the U.S. by the Inter-Nation Music Center of San Diego in 1979. In 1980, she was presented by Maestro Ali Akbar Khan in San Francisco and has performed numerous concerts throughout Northern California. Her tours have brought her to Sacramento, Seattle, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Germany, India, Canada, and Hong Kong. Since the early 1980's Purnima has served as a Research Associate for the Center of Asian Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, and as a faculty member at the East Bay Center for Performing Arts. 1n 1998, Purnima was awarded the National Intellectual Honor of India for lifetime achievement in the performing arts.

She charmed the audience by her memorable dance performance at the WBF Annual Convention at New Jersey in August 2K4.