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Sun. July 16th, 1:00pm

Usha Kala Niketan

Karakattam Folk Dance

Karakattam Folk Dance is an ancient folk dance of Tamil Nadu performed in praise of the rain goddess Mariamman. The ancient Tamil epic says that this type of dance derived from Bharatham and a mixture of multiple forms of Tamil dance forms like Bharatanatyam postures and mudras. The offering of this dance is to the goddess to bless rain.


Usha Gupta has been singing and dancing from the age of four in her native India. Today, she’s the ambassador of cultural diversity in Edmonton and Canada with her exceptional body of work in traditional and contemporary Indian classical dance.
From a young age, Usha took interest in music and dance, while growing up in Jalandhar, India. She spent ten years training under legends, Pandit Birju Maharaj and Guru Krishan Maharaj. Usha holds two Masters degrees; one in classical vocal music (1964) and another in Kathak dance (1965), both from Allahabad University (Uttar Pradesh, India). Additionally, she completed advanced training in Bharata Natyam for six years, with Guru Rama Rao (1974).
In May of 1989, Usha decided it was time to explore the western world and moved to Edmonton, Canada. Soon after, she opened her very own Indian Classical Dance School, Usha Kala Niketan, in July. Usha Kala Niketan school of dance and music boasts hundreds of students in classical and folk dances of India, presented at conferences, functions, and multicultural festivals. Her students have the opportunity to compete in events such as Dance Power, Dance Extreme, and with the Edmonton Federation Community League. Numerous students earned gold medals in said competitions and are able to use these opportunities to grow as emerging artists in the community. Students have performed in the Kala Nidhi Fine Arts Festival in Toronto, Canada’s top South Asian arts festival. Usha has also given students the opportunity to perform in major cities including New York and Chicago, as well as across India, as part of her professional touring group.
Usha Dance Entourage, her professional dance company, has toured her major dance productions across Canada and major cities in India. She has been featured by the Brian Webb Dance Company and Kala Nidhi Fine Arts Festival of Canada.
Since 2004, she has been awarded by the Edmonton Arts Council, Alberta Dance Alliance, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the Canada Council for production and touring. In 2016, she hosted and performed in the critically acclaimed, Romeo and Juliet, choreographed by the legendary Pandit Birju Maharaj. Most recently she has been inducted into Edmonton’s Hall of Fame adding to her 2001 and 2004 Salute to Excellence Awards. She has been inducted into Edmonton’s Hall of Fame for Culture and Diversity as she has dedicated her time to bringing her South Asian heritage into Edmonton’s community. She is known for uplifting her community and will continue to promote multiculturalism throughout Canada. By coming to Canada, Usha was able to learn of Canada’s pre-existing diversity and wanted to commit her time to bringing her own culture into all that Canada has to offer.
Usha has achieved beyond what she could have imagined in the last 32 years in Canada and continues to learn, teach, and present both music and dance as a Canadian and Indian artist.

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