Storytelling through Kathak Dance – Tarika Nath Debuts New Work 

Tarika Nath

Dance Source Houston’s Artist in Residence, Tarika Nath, brings together Kathak dance, film, and original music in a new spellbinding work premiering at Houston’s 9th Annual Barnstorm Dance Fest. 

Photo by Lynn Lane

DSH Artist-in-Residence, Tarika Nath
May 29th and June 1st during Barnstorm Dance Fest – Program B
Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston (MATCH)
Tickets and more information at

Houston-based choreographer Tarika Nath will present a new 17-minute work in Program B of the 2024 Barnstorm Dance Festival exploring art as a medium of communication with the afterlife.

This Kathak piece follows the journey of red cardinal birds, who are believed to be the most commonly presented “signs” of those who have passed away. Based on a true story, this work is an adaptation of a real-life visitation from a red cardinal upon Tarika’s grandmother passing. As the red cardinals undertake their celestial duty to connect with loved ones on Earth, the grieving discover a way to meet in the middle by finding a synonymous, underlying rhythmic pattern. Through technical nritta and emotive abhinaya, the choreography illustrates the power of art as an ethereal bridge connecting multiple dimensions.

The ‘23-’24 DSH Artist-in-Residence is joined on stage by emerging artists of Shivangini Academy of Arts. The dancers navigate a contemporary approach to Kathak storytelling while simultaneously embracing traditional aesthetics of the Lucknow Gharana. Intricate footwork patterns, fast spins and flowing angles are juxtaposed with phrases of deep expression and innovative movement. Throughout the dance, rhythm remains the center of the art form and drives the overall choreographic language of the piece. 

Rehearsal in Progress: Tarika directing Shivangini Academy students Saanvi Mistry, Vinita Chanpura, and Piya Mehta

The versatility of Kathak extends beyond dance movement as Tarika incorporates a multidisciplinary approach to her story. The piece begins with a short film produced by Kanda Films, providing a visual journey into the very day the spiritual experience took place in Tarika’s home. With the collaboration of esteemed musicians of Bhatkhande Music Institute, the dance is then brought to life with original music studio-recorded in Lucknow, India. The underlying melody, bandish and musical structure were composed by Tarika herself over several months of research and thematically crafted to weave the story together. 

Lucknow Studio Recording with Guru Pramod Misra (Tabla), Ankit Singh (Vocals), Krishna Kumar Mayura (Synthesizer), Tarika Nath (Padhant), and Smt. Shiva Mathur (Shivangini Academy of Arts)
Video Shoot – Filming by Aamuro Kanda (Kanda Films) and Set Design by Raagini Das, Alumni of USC School of Cinematic Arts

“It was my goal to have these three artistic elements work together to personify connection – and how beautiful it is when shared equally and unconditionally, even with those who have passed on.” ~ Tarika Nath, Artistic Director. 

Tarika will debut this original work on May 29th and June 1st at the Midtown Arts and Theatre Centre (MATCH). Tickets are available at

About the Artist: Tarika Nath is Houston-based Kathak practitioner. She trained for 15 years under Guru Smt. Shiva Mathur followed by additional training in Kalashram Delhi under the esteemed Padmavibhushan Pt. Birju Maharaj. Currently, Tarika is the Assistant Director of Shivangini Academy of Arts where she leads choreography at the largest Kathak school in Houston. Tarika’s works have been featured in prestigious venues across North America, including Madison Square Garden (NYC) and Wortham Center (Houston). Selected for the first ever New York Kathak Festival in 2019, Tarika produced solo work at Alvin Ailey Theatre (NYC).For Silambam Houston’s YUVA 2023, she recently produced “Avikathita” – an original full-length production. She choreographed multiple pieces at Native East Studios (Toronto) for the Sadhana Emerging Artist Series. Her choreographies have also been showcased at MATCH Houston, Hobby Centre, and UT Austin. Tarika’s dancing utilizes the unique intricacies of the Lucknow Gharana to highlight contemporary themes within traditional storytelling.

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