Kalashram is a dream of Kathak maestro pandit Birju Maharaj. It focusses on imparting training mainly in the field of Kathak, along with various other associated disciplines i.e. vocal & instrumental music, Yoga, Painting, Sanskrit, Dramatics, Stagecraft etc. It is proposed to build the Institute in a natural environment, with minimum concrete structures.

The classrooms, practice halls, meditation rooms,amphitheater would all reflect a rural setup in an urban area. The natural atmosphere, with numerous trees, pond etc. would be extremely inspiring and would bring everyone close to our simple, unassuming, but rich heritage. The institute would ran on entirely charitable basis :- no tuition fees would be charged from the students.. The objective of the Institute would primarily be, to produce highly talented students who would not only prove worthy of the training they receive, but also live as modest, humble and disciplined members of today's society.

Kalashram whose syntax is 'Kala' + 'Ashrama' or 'Kala' + Shram' aims to become a symbol of such that 'Kala' is worshipped through effort and honesty. Duty, dedication and devotion then become the 3D's of Dharma. This socio-religious outlook raises art to the level of a prayer and each student works then not for himself but for society at large; individual interests are then superimposed by an idealistic approach, whereby art is taught and learnt for the benefit of the masses and an understanding develops between art, artiste and the primordial teacher 'Prakriti'.

Aims and Objectives. Kalashram would be ran On the Guru-Shishya Parampara, leading to a direct interaction of the teacher and the student, making the relation special and personal. Our main concern would be to give individual attention helping them to grow and mature into complete artistes. Though dance would of coarse be our main subject for specialization, other closely associated arts i.e. vocal, instrumental, percussion, yoga, voice culture, (a precursor to theater) and Sanskrit would also be taught.

An exposure through workshop, lecture demonstrations, would be given to all students in other Art forms i.e. Painting, Sculpture, Crafts & Dramatics, and a general awareness would be created towards our rich legacy of Indian literature, where old classics and. Modern literature would be dealt with, making the student a total and aware citizen of India.

The purpose of the institute would be a constant search for perfection, to produce high quality performance artistes, dedicated research scholars and competent teachers. The criteria for admission would be genuine merit dedication and deep interest in the art and hence it would strive towards a qualitative growth of the students rather than a quantitative increase in the number of enrollments. Since no tuition fee will be charged, it will be open to all sections of the society. Special encouragement would be given to the students from under privileged classes, but the underlying focal point will be potential & promise.

Kalashram feels a responsibility to guide the little ones towards the right path and imbibe in them some moral values of life. Special care would be taken to help the young ones to develop a proper attitude and approach towards Art and a final commitment to society, thereby developing a good aesthetic taste & balance in life through music.

Proposed Activities.

  • Regular classes & training in Kathak, vocal music, instrumental music, painting and the fine arts.
  • Weekly classes in Sanskrit yoga, ancient and modem literature and dance theory.
  • Periodic lectures and demonstrations in dramatics, stagecraft and presentation and Natyashastra.
  • Periodic lectures on nature and environment; the Vedas and the Puranas; Indian heritage; other dance forms and genres and choreography.
  • Seminars and discourses on various other arts related issues.
  • Monthly baithaks - which are intimate performance sessions.
  • Audio and visual reproductions; recording and archiving and discussions.

It is expected that the students and disciples of Kalashram will get trained by the highest standards and exposed to an ethos that is rare to find in contemporary arts institutions.


(c) 1999, Birju Maharaj

Kathak Dance Drama
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