Founder & Artistic Director
Karishma is a performer, choreographer and dance educator in the Bay Area for 20 years. She was a professional company member with Shiamak Davar Institute of Performing Arts, Mumbai for 10 yrs. She founded Monsoon Dance Company (MDC) & School in 2017 and teaches at the studio in Palo Alto. She has trained in Kathak for 15+ yrs with various teachers starting with an immersive training at Kumudini Lakhia’s school in Ahmedabad, India, followed by her disciples, as well as disciples of Birju Maharaj and has performed their works. Alongside, she studied modern dance techniques such as Martha Graham and Limon,
Karishma’s notable choreographic works are ‘Manja’ her first Contemporary Kathak piece, and dance films “A Leaf Falls” and “Roshay”.
In 2022, her company premiered their first full length evening work titled “Shifting Boundaries: Conversations with Kathak” that explored preserving the traditional repertoire of Kathak and expanding its roots in contemporary context. It premiered at Joe Goode Annex in SF and Cubberley Theater in Palo Alto.
She performed at the New York Kathak Festival in New York with Prashant Shah & Dancers.
Karishma currently teaches Kathak and Contemporary classes at her school in Palo Alto where she encourages dancers to think through their bodies, and explore self-expresssion through mediums of story telling and improvisation. Her school has showcased Kathak Student recitals every 1.5 yrs, her own solo works that preserve traditional Kathak repertoire. Her creative works are rooted but not limited to Kathak, Contemporary and Jazz.
Instructor & Company Member
Originally from New Jersey, Ruchi started dancing when she was 3 years old. She has trained as a tap dancer for 15 years and taught kids throughout high school. Ruchi has also learned Bollywood, Kathak, and Contemporary through the years. Ruchi enjoys sharing her love of dance and the Indian culture with her students. In her class, she begins by focusing on the fundamentals of dance and working on core and flexibility through basic yoga flow. While teaching choreography, she helps her students understand the rhythm and beats of the music. Her goal is to build confident dancers who find joy in sharing their love of dance on stage (and currently through Zoom!).
Ruchi joined Monsoon in 2018, when she was looking to grow as a Kathak dancer. She started as a Company dancer, learning Indian Contemporary. She has performed with MDC on stage and in videos for both Contemporary and Bollywood, and is a Kathak student today as well. She loves that MDC has provided her with the opportunity to learn a wide variety of styles, created an inclusive community for her in the Bay Area, and allowed her to share her passion of dance with the next generation of dancers.