Veteran Kathak dancer Maya Rao died on 1 September 2014 following a massive cardiac arrest on 31 August 2014. She was 86.
Known for her mastery over abhinaya and dance ballet, Maya Rao helped the dance form Kathak to gain popularity in South India.
• Born in 1928 in Bangalore, Maya Rao practised the Lucknow and Jaipur gharana of Kathak from Shambhu Maharaj and Sunder Prasad.
• She studied Masters in Choreography from the USSR in 1964.
• Maya’s ground-breaking work in choreography helped thousands of dancers in learning the composition and arrangement of dances.
• She trained over 4000 students across the globe in about eight decades of her career.
• She had set up the Natya Institute of Dance and Choreography in 1987 at Malleswaram.
• Some of her dance ballets such as Amir Khusro, Krishnadevaraya, Vijayanagara Vaibhava, and Masti’s Kaamana Billu are regarded as her masterpiece productions in dance.
• She initiated National Performing Arts Festivals at heritage monuments such as Somanathpura, Pattadakkal and Halebid during her tenure as the chairperson of the Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy from 1987 to 1990.
• Maya Rao was a recipient of the prestigious Karnataka Rajyotsava awards (1986) and Shantala Awards(2000).