Born in a family of artists dedicated to preserving and spreading the rich folk tradition of india. Raghav inherited dance from his illustrious father - Dr. Gopal Raj Bhatt, a well known name in folk and tribal arts in India. He was initiated into dance at the age of five and was soon drawn into Kathak.
After initial training and a 'Visharada' diploma in Kathak under Guru Gopal Rao, Raghav entered the hallowed portals of Kathak Kendra in New Delhi. He received higher training from the living legend, Kathak Maestro - Padma Vibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj Ji. He received the national scholarship from the Government of India and the Central Sangeet Natak Academy, New Delhi and continued his pursuit of learning Kathak.
Raghav has traveled and performed widely in India and abroad and has received critical acclaim. He also took interest in Choreography. As a consequence, he led the production unit of the repertoire at wing of Kathak Kendra, New Delhi for over a decade. He was also a faculty at Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society, Singapore from 1996 to 1999 and at Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre, Embassy of India, Moscow, Russia from 2010 to 2013 deputed by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
A qualified artist, Raghav has mastered the art of Line Drawings and Sketches. A few powerful, free- flowing strokes give shape to forms of beauty and symmetry. The pulsating rhythm of his figures is rare in style and has earned him rave reviews .He has held many solo exhibitions of drawings in India and abroad. He rendered a collection of inspirational line drawings titled “Katha Rekha” on themes of Kathak and other dance forms. Raghav has rendered profile illustrations based on dance notations for “Ang Kavya”, a book by Pt. Birju Maharaj Ji.
Raghav seeks to touch the transcendental spirits through all that he has moved audiences the world over with a passion that goes beyond mere performances. The subtle interplay between form, color and rhythm is his hallmark and works a lasting influence on wondering mind.
Raghav has choreographed many dance ballets, dance dramas and contemporary dance recitals in national and international events. Raghav is an empanelled artiste of Doordarshan and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi. Raghav’s creativity has extended to other areas too. He has wide ranging expertise in folk and tribal arts of India. He designs the stage and props for dance dramas and compositions. He is also proficient in makeup and design of costumes for dance and theatre. Raghav is also a talented musician and often takes up the role alongside his supporting musicians.
Raghav, a versatile artist currently resides in Hyderabad, India and is working on multiple projects of dance productions. He is also a lecturer of Kathak at Sri Tyagaraja Government College of Music & Dance, Hyderabad.
Mangala, the name at once personifies auspiciousness, grace and elegance. As an artiste, every movement, every pirouette and every performance is a prayer offered at the feet of Saraswati, the Goddess of learning, and her Guru- Pandit Durga Lal Ji, the core of her artistic being. As a performer, the finesse, restraint and energy of her Kathak have illumined the stage of every important festival in India and many abroad. As an ambassador for Kathak and an explorer of the arts, her work spans continents and art forms, with collaborations ranging from percussion instruments to poetry.
Entering the artistic precincts of Kathak Kendra, New Delhi, as a young girl Mangala trained initially under late Shri Kundanlal Gangani of Jaipur Gharana. She later took advanced training under the Kathak Maestro late Pt.Durga Lal Ji, from whom she absorbed his brilliant technique and mastered the dazzling cadence and subtle nuances of Kathak. A recipient of the National Scholarship from the Government of India and Central Sangeet Natak Academy, New Delhi, Mangala successfully completed the post diploma course of Kathak Kendra and “Visharad” with distinction from Ghandharva Mahavidyalya, New Delhi.
Over the years Mangala has travelled to numerous parts of India and other countries taking her deep knowledge of Kathak far and wide. She has participated in many of India’s prestigious national dance festivals from the 1980s to present and has also actively taken part in lecture demonstrations organised by SPICMACAY, CCRT and University of Hyderabad. She has been invited to several International Dance Festivals as a performer and as a workshop conductor.
Initially, she taught at Sangeet Bharati, New Delhi from 1990-1992. Mangala also assisted classes at Kathak Kendra, New Delhi when her Guru toured abroad for extended periods. Mangala worked as a Teacher & Performer at the Indian Cultural Centre, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, under the auspices of Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi, Government of India, from 1996-1999. Mangala is also an empanelled artist of Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Doordarshan. She nurtures young talent at her institute “Aakruti Kathak Kendra”, where she is the Director. Aakruti Kathak Kendra is a singular institution which acts as a platform and as a centre of knowledge between Kathak, the art enthusiasts and the younger generation, the only one of its kind in the whole of South India. Every year since the institute’s inception in 1992, it has been conducting performances and festivals with its students. “Antarang” and “Tarang” are the institute’s annual festivals conducted since 2006.
Mangala has worked with a wide range of musicians and artists ranging from other Indian dance forms like Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam to Western dance forms like Flamenco. She has also experimented with solo musicians in percussion and has also collaborated widely with Sufi poets and singers. Currently, Mangala lives in Hyderabad, devotes time to her institute and actively performs with her students. As a keen artist she learns Hindustani Classical Music from Shri. Rakesh Pathak and makes it a point to attend dance workshops with a spirit of always learning.