Rani Khanam is one of the most sensitive and astute interpreters of Lucknow Gharana of Kathak today and she has been performing professionally for the past thirty years. She brings to her dance a rare sense of devotion and dedication, which leaves the audience with a sense of spiritual fulfilment.
Her style reflects deep comprehension of the dance tradition which has set new dimensions and source of inspirations to younger generation.While deeply rooted in tradition she has evolved her own individual style in Kathak.She achieved her rigorous training by renowned doyens of KathakUstdFattan Khan, Smt. Reba Vidyarthi and Pt. BirjuMaharaj, Rani Khanam graduated with top honours from Kathak Kendra, New Delhi.
Inspired by her intimate knowledge of Islamic and Sufi texts, she has a deep vision to perform on unique repertoire of Sufiana poetry (Qalam) & Islamic verses, which has received rich reviews. Liberating experience for the 30years that she has been dancing, and at this juncture, Rani Khanam is share with the world, some of what she has learned, gained and evolved, especially with the new generation of serious students of Kathak.
As a choreographer,Rani Khanam has won accolades from everyone right from the common man to the dignitaries. Her Choreography have received applaud and encouragement from the dignitaries Including the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Chief Ministers of Delhi & Arunachal Pradesh, Governor of Bengal & Arunachal Pradesh etc. As a choreographer, she experimented with a wide variety of themes: traditional, contemporary as well as issued based dance productions. She has choreographed over 200 items. The Indian and international art critics consider her an excellent and creative dancer.
She is an empanelled artist in “Outstanding Category” of the Indian Council for Culture Relations (ICCR) and “Top Graded” artiste at the Delhi Doordarshan.Awards
Rani Khanam has been honored for her courageous and pioneering work by such awards as:
1) Women Achievement Award2022by Gandhi Smriti & Darshan Samiti, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India.
2) National Integration Award 2017.
3) LorealFemina Women Award, 2014 for creative work on the rights of the women & Disabled.
4) 5th National Women Excellence Award, 2012 for the work on critical issues of equality& social justice for women and with the person with disabilities.
5) "World Dance and Islam’ 2006 -Asian Cultural Council Fellowship, New York.
6) Senior Fellowship award from the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India.
7) “Outstanding Kathak dancer”1991-The India Foundation's award.
And many more for her outstanding Innovative work in Kathak dance and for creating bridges in between missing links in performing arts with social issuesPERFORMANCE IN ABROAD:
For the past near about three decades, Rani Khanam has performed regularly at reputed international and national dance festivals. She performed one of her greatest work performances in the presence of the Majesties the King and the Queen of Malaysia & Prime Minister of Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur.Another was Salaam - International festival of Islamic Arts in London with legends of Sufi musicians, singers & dancers around the world.
For the past more than two decades, Rani Khanam and her group has performed regularly at reputed international and national dance festivals. She performed one of her greatest work in the presence of the Majesties the King and the Queen and Prime Minister of Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur.
Her dance tours to abroad has covered major festivals like-‘Namaste France’-France, Spain, UK, Asia Traditional song & dance Festival-South Korea, Salaam-International festival of Islamic Arts in London, Tropical dance festival in The Netherlands, ‘Sound of spell’ at Royal festival hall, London, Erasing Borders in New York, Forde International Festival in Sweden-Norway, ‘India Week’ at TlemcenAlgeria- the Islamic cultural capital of the world for the year 2012 and many solos and group performances in England, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Qatar, Doha, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Dubai &Sri Lanka and the ‘Festival of India’ in USSR, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.International Collaborative Performances with Legends:
Rani Khanam has internationally collaborated with living legends of Sufi Musicians, Singers & Dancers from many corners of the Islamic world.
She has involved herself in research work on the subject of:
1. ‘Re-uniting Katha-Vachak” & “Bhav–Batana’in Kathak Lucknow style
2. ‘World dance and Islam” ACC – Asian Cultural council’
3. ‘Contribution of Persian Culture to Kathak dance’
People have applauded her for bringing depth, passion and spontaneity into her work.COMMUNITY BASED CHOREOGRAPHIC & CREATIVE WORKS:
Rani Khanam firmly believes that dance should be linked with social issues and she has used her artistic calibre to create awareness through her choreography which articulates her convictions that dance can be vehicle to build social bridges.1. Work with Person with Disabilities:
Through creative training and choreography, Rani Khanam has credited with many path-breaking works in performing arts and she generates unique employment avenues for person with disabilities &women in the field of art & culture. Rani Khanam works with differently abled artists, who perform on Wheelchairs. The unique performances perform by young artists with disabilities, are sensitizing, empowering and motivating to the mass and inspire the audience.2. Dance Work on the Rights of the Women:
Rani Khanam is known for using classical Kathak to amplify and addressing critical issues of equality& social justice for Indian Muslim women and women in general. Her critically acclaimed dance production “Black and White”brings activism and the art together which seeks to raise awareness about the rights of Indian Muslim women for that she has won renewed praise.3. Creative work on Social Issues:
Also her international (UK) production ‘SHIVER’s choreography has thrown the spotlight on the issues of social stigma, HIV / AIDS and volatile stories of South Asian women.As a Guru & Founder of AAMAD Dance Centre (1996)
As in her career spanning near about three decades, connoisseurs have seen her dance productions which have made its impact all over the world. In 1996, Rani Khanam founded AAMAD Dance Centre, an NGO, recognised by the Dept. of Culture, Govt. of India and worked in cooperation with Kathak Kendra (National institute of Kathak dance), New Delhi as its accredited centre (East). AAMADis empanelled with Indian Council for Cultural Relations& Ministry of Culture.A respected Guru, she has cultivated and groomed some of the finest Kathak dancers in India & abroad. A cultural visionary, beside an outstanding exponent of Kathak, her contribution to the field of art is profound and countable in traditional classical dance history.Hosts Reputed Festival & Seminar
A cultural visionary, Rani Khanam has conceptualized ‘ParamparaPravah’ a research oriented dance festival aimed at reviving the fading aspects & aesthetics of Kathak for future generation and the ‘PratibhaUtsav’ a Festival providing a platform to the young, unknown but talented future torch-bearers of the pure Kathak tradition.Lecture Demonstrations / Workshops
Rani Khanam has promoted Indian classical dance amongst the youth through the performances, lecture demonstrations & workshops throughout India in many educational institutions, collages & schools under the auspices of Spic Macay, I.C.C.R., New York performing art library & Indian Ruler Cultural Centre.Dance in Education
Rani Khanam is in the planning group of DEAA, The department of education in Arts & Aesthetics-NCERT who created the “Teacher’s Handbook in dance for upper primary stage” of school education for teachers & next generations.