Padmashri Guru Pratap Pawar is an internationally renowned dancer, choreographer and teacher, and one of the world’s greatest proponents of the Kathak form. He is the first disciple of the legendary Pandit Birju Maharaj.

His own disciples include Balbir Singh as well as Asavari Pawar, Akram Khan, Riaz Rhemtulla, Sandra La Espuelita, Sheela Kakkad and many others.

Known as ‘India’s Divine Dancer’ Padmashri Guru Pratap Pawar is both a master of classical Indian dance and natural storyteller, who beguiles audiences with his entertaining and accessible presentations of Kathak in its purest form.

Padmashri Pratap Pawar has performed to countless audiences throughout the world in a distinguished career that has spanned six decades and as many continents. He continues to perform internationally today.

‘Kathak is like an ocean. There is so much to learn and to perform’

Padmashri Guru Pratap Pawar MBE

Photo: Robert Bloomfield

Feted in his own country wherever he goes, Pratap Pawar has also made a lasting mark on the international dance scene.

Throughout his career, Pratap has enthusiastically sought to bring together different cultures by blending Indian dance with other styles. As a daring pioneer he was the first to fuse Kathak with Flamenco. For this he has received great acclaim worldwide.

In the 1980s Pratap was asked to take residence in England and soon after he began teaching Kathak in London as the first step to what the Kathak scene in the UK has now become.

As a performer and choreographer, Pratap Pawar’s works range from classical Kathak to contemporary fusion; from solo performance to group dance drama. This is reflected in his educational work, which has seen dancers and choreographers from across the world learn both traditional techniques and gain insights into new ways of bringing together Kathak with their own style or training.

In 2008 Pratap Pawar received the Padmashri award from the Government of India in recognition of his distinguished and global contribution to the arts.

In 2019 he was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s New Years Honours list. This latest honour reflects Pratap Pawar’s profound impact on British dance culture, and highlights his ongoing contribution to fostering multicultural understanding in the UK through the common language of dance.

“He is like a cultural ambassador of our country to those nations where he taught Kathak and introduced our cultural traditions abroad.”

Pratibha Devisingh Patil, former President of India, on Pratap Pawar