Ritha Devi Mukhopadhyaya



Born on 6 December 1924 in Baroda, Shrimati Ritha Devi Mukhopadhyaya trained in several dance styles under eminent masters. She learnt Manipuri dance as a student of Haobam Atomba Singh; Bharatanatyam under Pandanallur Chokkalingam Pillai; Kathakali under Karunakaran Panikkar; Mohiniattam under the tutelage of Lakshmi Nair and Chinammu Amma; Kuchipudi dance under Vempati Chinna Satyam; and Sattriya dance under Jatin Goswami and Roseshwar Saikia. She finally trained in Odissi dance, focusing on the Mahari tradition under the guidance of Pankaj Charan Das.
Having given performances in India, Shrimati Ritha Devi toured Europe and the former Soviet Union in the 1960s, and in 1972 was invited to teach Indian dance at New York University's School of the Arts. She was on the School's faculty for ten years, and subsequently taught dance at other institutions in the United States. In the 1980s, she produced solo dance-dramas based on Kalidas's Kumarasambhavam, Shudraka's Mrichhakatikam and Upendra Bhanja's Lavanyavati She also conducted workshops at Duke University and the Universities of San Francisco and Philadelphia. Returning to India in 2003, Shrimati Ritha Devi has been imparting training in dance at her school in Pune.
For her service to dance, Shrimati Ritha Devi has been honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Guru Pankaj Charan Odissi Research Foundation (2005). She is also a recipient of the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award (2009). She has received fellowships for choreography from the Creative Artistes' Public Service, New York, and the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington.
Shrimati Ritha Devi Mukhopadhyaya receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Tagore Award for her contribution to Odissi dance.