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Meenu Thakur (born 1 July 1972) is an Indian Kuchipudi dance exponent. She runs an institution ‘SURAMYA’ for teaching Kuchipudi to young learners in Delhi NCR.
Born to an advocate Harswroop Thakur and home-maker Shakuntla.
Recipient of the Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Meenu has been actively performing for the last 29 years as a Kuchipudi Artiste.
Meenu is an established artist of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Festival of India, Ministry of Culture, and has performed outside India through cultural exchanges. She is an ‘A’ Graded artist of Doordarshan (India's National television network) and is also associated with SPIC MACAY (Society for promotion of Indian classical music and culture among youth).
Meenu also holds the record for being the first danseuse to perform in a jail (Tihar Jail, 2014), and a performance at Mandoli Central Jail, New Delhi (2018).
Meenu is one of the few danseuses who can perform Simhanandini, a Kuchipudi piece in which the dancer sketches the Simhavahana (The mount of Goddess Durga) with her feet.
Performances in Indian festivals
Khajuraho Festival, Kal Ki Kalakar Festival, Chidambaram (Tamil Nadu), Natyanjali Festival, Konark Festival, Horizon (ICCR) Delhi & Lucknow, Sidhender Jyanti Samaroh (Hyderabad), Pt. Bhatt Smriti Samaroh (Jaipur), Kalakshetra, Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Mahabalipuram Festival (Tamil Nadu), Sur Singar Samsad (Mumbai), Nimaad Festival (M.P), Tyagaraja Festival, Delhi International Arts Festival (Delhi), Classical dance and music festival (Goa), Hampi Mahotsava (Hampi), Modhera Dance Festival (Sun Temple, Mehasana, Gujarat) Taj Mahotsava (Agra)
Performances outside India
Bahrain, UK, Brazil, Serbia, Croatia, South Africa, Re-Union, Zambia, El Salvador, Panama, Mauritius, Nepal, China, Japan, Canada, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Bhutan, Austria, Tunisia and Hungary.
Bhamakalapam in Hindi
Samarpan-The Saga of Mirabai
Yashodara-The Sage's Queen
Navagraha Charitam-The Power of Planets
Suramya, An Institution of Performing Arts for the popularization and learning of Kuchipudi dance was established in 1999. It runs classes in Kuchipudi dance in Delhi NCR. Meenu Thakur is the Founder Director of SURAMYA. The students of Suramya (disciples of Meenu Thakur) have performed in various national festivals/programmes under her guidance. Suramya is empanelled with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, to invite overseas students to learn Kuchipudi in India.
Awards and achievements
- Recipient of the Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (First for a Kuchipudi danseuse in U.P)
- Recipient of the Sarojini Naidu International Award for Women for contribution to Kuchipudi dance (2020)
- Recipient of the Nishtha Women Achievers Award (2021)
- Recipient of the "RUDRAKSHAM" Award for Excellence in Kuchipudi dance (2019)
- Recipient of the "NATIONAL NRITYA RATNA" Award for contribution to Kuchipudi dance (2017)
- Recipient of the GFDW (Global Fashion Design Week) Award for Excellence in the field of dance (2017)
- Recipient of the Safari South Asian Travel Award for contribution to culture tourism through dance (2016)
- Recipient of the Swami Vivekananda and Sister Margaret Award for comprehensive social development through dance (2016)
- Recipient of the "NATIONAL NRITYA SHIROMANI" Award for contribution to Kuchipudi dance (2015)
- Awarded the Rashtriya Nirman Puraskar (2015)
- Awarded The Gold Medal for propagation of Kuchipudi by Aryabhatta Society
- Awarded the title of "LAASYA KUMUDINI" by Rudraksham Culture Society, New Delhi.
- Awarded the title of "KALA NIPUNA" by Nrityaranjani Fine Arts Academy, Mumbai.
- Awarded the title of "SHINGAR MANI" by Sur Shringar Samsad, Mumbai.
- Scholarship in Kuchipudi from Department of Culture, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India
- Junior Fellowship from Department of Culture, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India
- Performed at Rashtrapathi Bhavan in 2007 in the presence of Hon’ble President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
- Choreographed the Kuchipudi performance at the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit hosted by President of India, Pranab Mukherjee
- First danseuse to perform at Tihar Central Jail, the biggest jail complex in South Asia and at Central Jail (Mandoli), New Delhi.
- One of the few danseuses to perform Simhanandini (sketching the lion with the toes of the feet while dancing), a traditional piece propagated by Guru C.R. Acharya/Guru V. Rangamani.
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