Geetanjali Sharma, a Kathak danseuse and Ustaad Bismillah Khan awardee, has founded Kalavraksh Kathak Kendra to encourage the country's youth to dive into the rich cultural heritage of India. She believes that India's heritage classical art forms, including dance, music, art, poetry, and theatre, should be preserved by the upcoming generations, and their significance should be appreciated.
Miss Sharma believes that it is important for the country's youth to, at the very least, be aware of the Indian classical art forms to perpetuate their relevance. She says, "I believe it is important to safeguard our creative history and cultural heritage. For this, we need to acquaint our children with the traditional art forms for them to carry the baton forward."
By setting up Kalavraksh Kathak Kendra, Miss Sharma aims at filling the gap of knowledge regarding classical dance forms between dancers and non-dancers. She says, "I have heard a lot of non-dancers say, 'Oh, is that so?' when they are told that Kathak and Kathakali are two separate dance forms. This gap needs to be filled. This is essentially the reason behind establishing Kalavraksh Kathak Kendra – to present traditional at genres to students and aspiring artists in the most legitimate way possible."
Moreover, Geetanjali Sharma aspires to keep the Indian tradition of guru-shishya parampara alive in the generations to come. Talking about her guru Uma Dogra, she says, "I consider myself fortunate to have a guru like Pandita Uma Dogra from Jaipur Gharana. Along with dance lessons, she taught me a lot of life lessons as well. I have always believed that the core of an art form and its authentic culture can be explored by maintaining guru-shishya parampara."
Miss Sharma is a big critic of the commercialization of art. She believes that the commercialization of art forms (especially traditional Indian dances) takes one away from their roots. She says, "Bollywood, in my opinion, has done the most damage to Kathak's heritage. It has often portrayed the dance form in a debauched light in commercial cinema, with no reference or relevance to its rich heritage."
Through Kalavraksh Kathak Kendra, Miss Sharma aims at reuniting young Indians with their roots and make them aware of the cultural beauty of Kathak in its most vibrant form. She also aspires to host art shows and festivals to spread awareness about the fading cultural acumen within the country. "It is vital to put on art shows and present them in the most organized manner possible, as this is how the audience will see them. As artists, we would never want something deceptive to reach the general public. A well-curated and well-organized classical event brings out the best in a well-defined art form, which benefits the progress of the community of artists. The beauty of an art form can only be conveyed when its essence reaches the audience in an unadulterated manner," concludes miss Sharma.