Guru Prasanna Kasthuri
Raghusutha, Prasanna’s father put his son under a dance teacher for dance
learning in 1975, he was remembering his visit to Calcutta in 1950’s, which
was in search of learning dance from the legendary dancer Uday Shankar
(brother of Bharatha Rathna Pandit Ravi Shankar). Raghusutha achieved his
dream to dance, through his children. Prasanna, eldest of the three, is an
established performer and a teacher of two classical dance forms –
Bharathanatyam and Kathak and he has promoted the Indian art form in and out
of India very successfully.
Prasanna established Soorya
Performing Arts in 2002 in St. Louis, MO to promote Indian classical
dance, music and theater to a greater Midwest audience
of United States of America.
He headed many great projects co-sponsored by
the prestigious Regional Arts Council of St. Louis and Missouri Arts
He created some unique productions such as – “Gokula
Nirgamana” – a first Indian Opera ever performed outside India. In this
production, dancers sang and danced simultaneously, which is a rare
achievement in the field of Bharathanatyam. He collaborated with Pandit
Vishwamohan Bhat to compose his innovative – “Rainbow-II” – a dance
production based on famous English and American Poems.
He was invited to International Tap festivals
held in Oklahoma and St. Louis and performed in Asian Festivals in Columbus,
Prasanna was invited to present “Anubhava Mantapa” – a
production based on Sharana literature in North American Veerashaiva
Sammelana and in North American Indian Classical Dance
Festival which was held in University of Texas in San Antonio by Arathi
School. His recent trend of Geya Nrithya attracted many patrons in Natya
festival in Baltimore, MD. He also adopted Kuvempu’s Beral Ge Koral into
dance format, which was performed in more than 25 cities across USA. He
taught Indian Classical dances to many professional American dancers in
Webster University and in Stephens College.
Apart from a devoted performer,
Prasanna Kasthuri is also interested in organizing many events. Under his
leadership, St. Louis witnessed the very first Indian Drama Festival –
“Nataka 2007” and the very first Indian Classical Dance Festival - “St.
Louis Indian Dance Festival” in 2008. His past achievements such as 24-hour
non-stop performance (1986), a rank in Vidwat (1985), and a Masters Degree
in Information technology always shine high in his resume. Apart from these
he has trained hundreds of students in India, Europe and in USA. More than
15 students performed arangetrams under his tutelage.
owes his learning to the blessings of his Gurus Smt. Maya Rao (Kathak), Smt.
Lalitha Srinivasan, Smt.
Along with these teachers, he also took many
workshops with noted personalities such as Birju Maharaj, Mahalingam Pillai,
Adyar Lakshmanan, Chitra Visweswaran, Pandanallur Gopalakrishna and others.
is also a good singer and a music composer. His recent passion is playing
Mrudangam, which he adores and respects.
Prasanna's major dance productions include -
"Kadu Kuniyithu" (1987) -Dance production for children on
the story of animals
"Kavya Kinkini" (1989) - A Bharathanatyam repertoire based on poetry from
"Subhadra Parinaya" (1991) - A Sanskrit dance drama from Mahabharatha
"Shrungara Naayakaru" (1994) - A Portrayal of Romantic heroes corresponding
to the Nayikas of Indian dance.
"Rasa Gati" (1996) - Adoption of Rasa theory and Carnatic tala structures
"Jnana" (1998) - Mini dance drama based on moral stories
"Avataara" (1999) - Metaphysical interpretation of incarnations
"Cherishnu" (2000) - A dance spectacle of Bengali literature
"Silambu"(2002) - Dance drama based on 2nd century Tamil epic Silappadikaram
"Anubhava Mantapa"(2002) - Dance reflection of 12th century Sharana
"Maarga" (2002) - A Bharathanatyam dance repertoire
"Thoughts"(2002) - A thought provoking dance presentation based different
works of philosophers of India
Rainbow - I (2004) - English poems into Indian Solo dancing
Katha Kahe Kathaka (2004) - Presentation of Kathak dances
Rhythms in Motion (2005) – Rhythms across the life
Shaam - e - Kathak (2006) – Dances on Ghazals - love-lorn songs
Rainbow - II (2006) – English poems into Indian Dancing with a Grammy award
Works of Amir Khusro and Sri Aurobindo (2006)
Call of Flute (2007) – USA’s first Indian opera through classical music and
dance of India
Nal Damayanti (2007) – Story of Nal and Damayanti
Dokka Seethamma & Heerkani (2008) – Two stories of Great Indian women
Tiger & Merchant (2009) – A children short dance drama
Bahulya (2009) - Multiligual, Multi Culture Bharathanatyam Performance
Zero (2010) - A biographical production on life of Arya Bhatta , the Indian
Mathematician, who invented "Zero"
Mruchchakatika (2012) – A 2nd century Sanskrit Dance Drama
Dhun (2013) - A Bhakti tradition production with Kathak and Bharathanatyam
Vismaya (2014) - Contemporary Bharathanatyam - Kathak - Metaphysical
Prasanna's contribution to dance/music/theatre field as an organizer
He visualized, conceptualized and executed all the following
festivals with the help of like-minded individuals. Guru Prasanna Kasthuri
believes in sharing his energy, resources with other co-dancers by providing
performance opportunities will increase goodwill and expand the art
exposure. He hopes other dancers, dance organizers do the same to promote
the art forms.
1st Shantala Dance Festival -
1986 - Bangalore, India
2nd Shantala Dance Festival in Nandi Grama - 1987 - Nandi Hills, Karnataka,
3rd Shantala Dance Festival in Kanakapura - 1988 - Kanakapura, Karnataka,
4th Shantala Dance Festival in Bangalore - 1991 - Bangalore, Karnataka,
5th Shantala Dance Festival in Magadi - 1997 - Magadi, Karnataka, India
6th Shathala Dance Festival in Vijayapura, 1998 - Vijayapura, Karnataka,
Nataka - 1st theatre festival in St. Louis - 2007
1st St. Louis Indian Dance Festival - St. Louis, USA - 2008
2st St. Louis Indian Dance Festival - St. Louis, USA - 2010
3rd St. Louis Indian Dance Festival - St. Louis, USA - 2011
1st St. Louis Indian Music Festival - St. Louis, USA - 2011
4th St. Louis Indian Dance Festival - St. Louis, USA - 2012
2nd St. Louis Indian Music Festival - St. Louis, USA - 2012
5th St. Louis Indian Dance Festival - St. Louis, USA - 2013
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