|Divine Musician (1939)|
Hailing from a village near Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh (North India) his first experience of modern world was at the renowned dance centre set up at Almora by legendary dancer and choreographer Uday Shankar from 1939-42. After his training in traditional dance, modern techniques and choreography, his career took several turns against the backdrop of nationalist movement.
His first assignment was to entertain Indian troops fighting for the British troops stationed in Iraq and Iran during World War II in 1945. Upon return he joined the Indian People’s Theatre Association’s (1946) Bombay Squad, dancing and choreographing in productions based on anti-British and nationalist themes. Thereupon, he choreographed for Indian National Theatre (1947), founded New Stage (1949), and spent a decade choreographing in commercial films in Mumbai before leaving the city for good to devote energies to artistic pursuits in Delhi after Independence.
In 1954, he began his seminal association with Modern School in Delhi for over three decades where he institutionalized dance education for children and the young. It his to his credit that today dance has become integral to school education in Delhi, leading to similar efforts in other cities. At Modern School, he choreographed close to 300 short and long ballets with school children on various themes, styles and forms.
Simultaneously, he strengthened the professional dance world by associating with key interventions in performing arts world that include choreographing ‘Shakuntala’ for Hindustani Theatres (1957); ‘Ramlila’, ‘Navprabhat’ and ‘Maha-Raas’ for Bharatiya Kala Kendra (1954, 1961-65); ‘Kamayani’ for Sahitya Kala Parishad (1970); massive Opening and Closing Ceremonies of Asian Games in Delhi 1982; Opening Ceremony with traditional dancers of Apna Utsav (1988); Reception in honor of Nelson Mandela (1990); and massive Closing Ceremony of Festival of India in Moscow (1988).
In 1972 he established his independent dance group, Bhoomika and produced more than 40 original works that have been critically acclaimed by press and public. Bhoomika has performed in all major dance festivals on contemporary dance and ballet organized by Sangeet Natak Akademi all over India since 1976.
He taught dance at University of Washington, USA (1965-66) and visited Russia, Germany, China, Central Europe under Cultural Exchange Programmes.
For his contributions to dance he was awarded Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, UP Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Sahitya Kala Parishad award and Soviet Land Nehru Award.