NAJMA AYASHAH, Kathak Dancer • Choreographer • teacher
Najma Ayashah, Kathak Dance exponent of the Jaipur Tradition of Kathak Dance, is known to have enriched and integrated the great Jaipur tradition of Kathak with elements of folk and Gypsy dances with an unusual sense of aesthetic adventure and free form. Her creative repertoire finds expression in integrated compositions with cross-culture fusion pieces performing to music and rhythms of Flamenco, Sufi, and the Middle East
Najma has been a faculty member at NYU since 2002 where she teaches the Jaipur tradition of Kathak Dance and Yoga correlating the dynamic interplay of energies and consciousness through chakra awareness and the cosmic movement of the universe.
She originally studied Kathak Dance, Sanskrit, yoga and tabla at the Bharatiya Kala Kendra, and Kathak Kendra, New Delhi under the guidance of the illustrious Guru Kundan Lal Gangani and his son, Guru Rajendra Gangani. Founder of the Gangani Kathak Dance Company since 1989, Najma has performed both classical Kathak and fusion throughout the United States at venues including Asia Society, Museum of Natural History, Museum of Modern Art, Garden State Arts Center, Lincoln Center in New York city and has toured extensively performing and presenting workshops in England, Brazil, Russia and India. Najma has performed widely with “Espirito Gitana” and Flamenco artists, composer/musicians ,Carmen Salou and tabla virtuoso, Badal Roy at Lincoln Center, Damrosch Park, in August 2011 and her most recent collaborations at La MaMa Theatre and Faison Firehouse Theatre in New York.
Being very active in Multi-Cultural Education throughout the tri-state area, Najma assimilates poetry and music from all backgrounds by incorporating Indian dance movements and sounds—shaping artistic communication with her students. Most recent venues include Baruch College, Juilliard School of the Arts, Brooklyn Council of the Arts, Queens Library and Bronx Library. Early only in her career, 1989, Najma was awarded a Letter of Commendation from the Board of Education in New York City for her work with learning disabled children. And in 2003, she was awarded for her work reflecting the global influence of Asian cultures by the Asian Heritage Committee at New York University.REVIEWS
"comparable in grace and scope to Plisetkaya"...the effect was mesmerizing..." Dance Magazine
"Najma is the embodiment and living proof of the universality of Indian Dance- the totality of art and oneness with the world" Wind & Spirit Dance Magazine
"Renewing and inspiring performance..working from a strong center, she flashes out expertly to complete each design with rhythmic perfection." New York Times