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Dance to your own Rhythm!

Sampada Pillai

Sampada Pillai

Dance to your own Rhythm!

Artiste Profile

  • A disciple of Late Pandita Dr. Rohini Bhate (2002 to 2008).
  • Trained under Guru Smt. Sharadini Gole (2007 – 2012).
  • Trained under Guru Smt Neelima Adhye (2002 – 2007)
  • Parangat in Kathak from Kala Academy Goa having trained under Guru Smt. Amala Suri Patkar (1982 to 2001).
  • Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting (First Class), Goa College of Art, Goa University (1996).

A graceful Kathak dancer who possesses a sound sense of rhythm, understanding of the complexities of ‘Talas’, has a feeling for music and  a creative ability to express herself through the language of movement, Sampada was initiated into Kathak at 6 yrs of age and is an alumni of Kala Academy, Goa having trained under Guru Smt. Amala Suri Patkar. Having successfully completed the Parangat diploma in Kathak at Kala Academy, Sampada moved to Pune and came under the tutelage of renowned Kathak legend late Pandita Dr. Rohini Bhate at Nrityabharati Kathak Dance Academy. Sampada brings forth a repertoire in Lucknow-Jaipur gharana of Kathak as established by Guru Rohini ji.

Sampada has many solo and group performances to her credits such as performances in the dance festivals at Somnathpur and Halebid-Belur in Karnataka, Nakshatra Utsav, Goa, Nimhan dance festival- Madhya Pradesh, Articulate Festival Mysore, Sai Nrityotasav Bangalore, Shilparamam – Hyderabad, Goa Doordarshan, DD Chandana, Natya Tantra on Shankara TV to name a few. She has performed in group as well as in lead for most productions of Kala Academy Goa such Kathak Panorama, Krishna Leela, Bharat Darshan and various Kathak choreographies. She has worked in association with German artistes and the fusion choreography titled Music from Air and Water received much acclaim in Goa. In Pune, she has performed on various platforms with senior Kathak dancers.

Sampada has co-choreographed a short film- Radha Bhakti Sudha in 2007 which received the Jury’s Special Mention Award at the New York Short Film Festival in 2008. She was on the ‘judges panel’ for Kathak in the prestigious SAMMAAN 2020, a worldwide talent hunt contest hosted by Shankar Mahadevan Academy.

Apart from a career in Kathak, Sampada has immense experience in the field of teaching Dance and Visual Art in Schools having taught the PYP program at Indus International School, Pune

In 2012 Sampada settled in Bangalore and established ‘RIDDHAM – Kathak School’ which is among the top rated Kathak schools in the city. An acclaimed Kathak dancer Sampada aims to create an awareness of this dance form and train her disciples to the best of her ability. Riddham is located in Yelahanka New Town.


"Kathak has enriched my life in ways that I cannot imagine! It has given me the strength to go on when there was no hope, helping me cope and overcome adversities and guiding me towards contentment and serenity. I wish to share this ‘enrichment’ by not just creating good dancers but helping them find inner peace and happiness."

– Sampada Pillai

Performances & Achievements


  • Solo – Jal Tarang Concert – org by Ahum, Bangalore, February 2020
  • Solo – Sai Nrityotsav 122, Bangalore, July 2019
  • Solo – Sutra Festival Bangalore, May 2019
  • Solo & group – Youth Arts and Cultural Festival, Bangalore , January 2019
  • Sai Nrityotasav (In Guru Smt. Durga Arya ji’s group), November 2018
  • Solo – Articulate Festival Mysore, July 2018
  • Duet – Sarojini org by Aatmalaya Academy of Art and Culture Trust, August 2018
  • Solo – Kadambari Kalakshetra- World Dance Day, Bangalore, April 2018
  • Sankranti Sandadi, Shilparamam, Hyderabad Jan. 2018
  • Ramana Natya Shishirotsava, Bangalore, Dec. 2017
  • DD Chandana, 2017
  • Solo – Natya Tantra, Sri Shankara TV, Bangalore, 2017
  • Solo – World Dance Day, Curated by Prof. Ashish Mohan Khokar, Alliance Francaise, Bangalore, April 2014-15


Co-choreographed short film Radha Bhakti Sudha which received Jury’s Special Mention Award at New York Short Film Festival 2008.



  • Introduction to Kathak – Canadian International School, Bangalore, 2018.
  • Kathak Parampara – International Centre of Performing Arts, Bangalore, 2013.
  • Explore Kathak – Indo Japanese Youth Seminar, Pune, 2007

Dance does not signify mere pleasure - nor is it just a fascinating physical activity. It awakens the soul and arouses a sense of elation - rarely experienced otherwise. What is Dance then - if not a prayer?

- Late Guru Pandita Dr. Rohini Bhate

My Gurus

Late Pandita Dr. Rohini Bhate

For over six decades Guru Dr. Rohini Bhate has focused her energies on Kathak, a classical dance style of North India. Groomed in the art by the late Guru Lacchhu Maharaj and late Guru Mohanrao Kalyanpurkar, she has evolved a unique,rich style of her own.

Guru Rohiniji’s multifaceted scholarly interests allow her to cull the best from the rich oral traditions of India. Her study of music complements her literary creations, giving a novel repertoire of Kathak items.

Guru Rohiniji’s numerous papers on Kathak have revealed her erudition, and her practical contributions to various Kathak curricula are sought after at different universities. In her avatars as writer, translator, orator, theoretician, teacher and dancer, Guru Rohini Bhate embodies a harmonious blend of high classicism with contemporary expression…. a synergistic celebration of the performing arts.

Guru Rohiniji was born into a very progressive and an avant-garde family, which supported her passion for the art of Kathak dance. She was born on 14th November, 1924 and took a liking for dance at a very early age. In those times, dancing was not considered ‘noble or decent’ for girls coming from good families. And Maharashtra never had a classical dance style of its own. It was during these difficult times that Rohiniji traveled from Pune to Mumbai and later from Pune to Lucknow and back to take the authentic training of Kathak from revered Gurus and Maestros Pt. Mohanrao Kallianpurkar and Pt. Lachu Maharaj from the Jaipur and Lucknow Gharanas. Thus she was the pioneer, responsible to bring down the classical dance form of Kathak right from the north, way down to Maharashtra.

She founded the Nrityabharati Kathak Dance Academy in Pune in the year 1947.

With her understanding of the structure and aesthetics of talas, her flair for adaptation of oral traditions, and her analytical and innovative approach to abhinaya, Guru Dr Rohini Bhate has enriched the Kathak repertoire creating a large corpus of dance compositions: Traditional & Contemporary.

  • ‘Akademi Ratna’, Sangeet Natak Akademi, 2007
  • Pune.‘Punyabhushan Puraskar’, Tridal, Pune 2005
  • D. Litt. Deccan College–Deemed University 2004
  • Vasundhra Pandit Puraskar, Vasundhara Pandit Pratishtan 2003
  • Adishakti Puraskar, Aba Bagul Pratishthan 2001
  • Nrityabhushan, Dahad Vidyavardhini 1999
  • Lokmanya Kalopasak, Tilak Maharashtra University 1999
  • Jeevan Sadhana Gaurava, University of Pune 1999
  • Kalidas Samman, Madhya Pradesh Government 1997
  • Emeritus Fellowship, Government of India 1997
  • ‘Sangeetshri’, Pune 1996
  • ‘Pride of Pune’ 1995
  • Godavari Puraskar 1994
  • Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar 1990
  • ‘Nrityavilas’, Sur Singar Parishad, Mumbai 1980
  • Sangit Natak Akademi award 1979
  • Maharashtra Rajya Puraskar 1977
  • Majhi Nrityasadhana: An autobiographical writing.
  • Mi Isadora: Marathi translation of the autobiography of the creator of Modern Dance, Isadora Duncan,
  • Kathak Darpan Deepika: She has edited the classic Sanskrit treatise Abhinayadarpana with translation and elucidatory and innovative notes and this has been brought out in Hindi editions by Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahamandal, Navi Mumbai.
  • Darpani Pahata: The original Marathi version of the above book is to be brought out by the Lalit Kala Kendra of Pune University.
  • Laheja: Many of her original studies in Marathi are collected in this book which has been brought out by ‘Mauj Prakashan’, Mumbai and has been declared to be a book prescribed by Lalit Kala Kendra of Pune University.
  • She has done some original thinking about the handling of choreographic space and the possibility of future developments in Kathak. One looks forward to their publication in print.
  • Kathak Kendra New Delhi
  • Indira Art University, Khairahgarh
  • Maharashtra State Literature and Culture Board
  • Jaipur Kathak Kendra
  • Rajasthan Sangit Samsthan
  • University of Mumbai
  • University of Pune
  • Maharashtra State Board of Secondary Education
  • Sangeet Natak Akademi New Delhi
  • Ustad Allaudin Khan Sangit Academy
  • Sangeet Natak Academy Lucknow
  • Kathak – In Tradition,
  • Time & Space by German Cinematographer and Kathak Dancer Carolyn Dassel
  • Laheja by Nrityabharati Kathak Dance Academy Pune

Guru Smt Amala Suri Patkar

Born in a conservative Punjabi Khatri family, Smt. Amala ji started learning dance at the tender age of four. Much against the family tradition, Amala ji’s father, an admirer of the performing arts, encouraged her to learn dance. After some basic training in Bharatanatyam she was initiated into Kathak by the renowned exponent of Kathak Guru Smt. Dr. Rohini Bhate at the Nrityabharati Kathak Dance Academy.

Guru Rohiniji’s multifaceted scholarly interests allow her to cull the best from the rich oral traditions of India. Her study of music complements her literary creations, giving a novel repertoire of Kathak items.

For a number of years, she performed at many centres with the Nrityabharati group. As an undergraduate as well as postgraduate student at Bombay University, she choreographed a number of programmes in and outside Mumbai which have won her prestigious awards.

A scholarship student at the University of Bombay, Amala holds a first class Masters degree in clinical Psychology. She also holds a first class Alankar Degree of the Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya in Dance.

Though a clinical psychologist by profession and having taught the subject at the University level in Mumbai for six years, she gave up her career and decided to concentrate in teaching Kathak.

She joined the teaching faculty of Kala Academy Goa in 1982 and has ever since focussed her energies in teaching Kathak until her retirement a few years back. Her students have excelled in and outside the state of Goa.

Her notable directional ventures in Goa have been Kathak Panorama & Bharat Darshan. She also has to her credit the dance compositions in Gomant Darshan a program depicting the history and culture of Goa.

Smt. Amala ji brings forth a harmonious blend of the two main gharanas of Kathak – Jaipur and Lucknow. Her style of Kathak expresses the best of ‘nazakat’ of Lucknow Gharana’s abhinaya and the wizardry of rhythm of the Jaipur Gharana.

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche