Birthday: 04-02-1938
Age: 81
Star sign: Pisces

In today's times, hardly youngsters are interested in learning Indian classical dance forms and preserving our country's rich heritage. The male population flinches when it comes to traditional dancing, and people mostly consider it as a girl's terrain.

Birju Maharaj, whose name is Brijmohan Mishra, is a dance maestro who teaches Kathak. He was born in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on February 4, 1938 in a family of excellent artists. Mishra is Ishwari Prasad's direct descendant.

Ishwari is probably the foremost Kathak dancer of the country. Mishra's name is a synonym of Lord Krishna. His father, Jagannath Maharaj, whose other name was Acchan Maharaj, was a dancer in the princely state of Raigarh. Besides his father, Mishra's uncles, Shambhu Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj, also trained him in Kathak's Kalka-Bindadin gharana. At the young age of seven, he gave his first recital.

When he was eight, Sangeet Bharti, Delhi, invited him to reach their institution. However, after the communal riots broke out, he had no other alternative but to relocate back to Lucknow. Unfortunately, a year later, Mishra's dad passed away, and the family had to struggle for financials.

They had to sell some of the family heirlooms to make ends meet. Eventually, they moved from Lucknow to Delhi. Later, Shambhu Maharaj, his uncle, founded Bhartiya Kala Kendra and Mishra became the head of Bhartiya Kala Kendra's faculty and its director. In 1988, he separated from it and opened his dance institution named Kalashram.

Mishra has wooed the audience from several countries with his graceful moves, lethal choreography, and delicate expressions. Besides dancing, he can play drums and string instruments efficiently in spite of never learning them formally.

Mishra can sing Ghazals, Thumri, Bhajans, and Dadra. In Bollywood, he has worked on Shatranj Ke Khiladi, Gadar, Dil To Pagal Hai, Devdas, and Bajirao Mastani. Mishra has published poet collections named Brij shyam Kahe, Anubhuti, and much more.

He has performed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on numerous occasions. Mishra is the recipient of Padma Vibhushan, Sangeet Natak Academy Award, Shiromani Samman, Nritya Choodamani, Rajiv Gandhi Peace Award, Adharshila Shikhar Samman, Soviet Land Nehru Award, and much more. Khairagarh and Banaras Hindu University have conferred their honorary doctorate degrees on him.

Mishra is immensely close to his mother, who lived all her life in the family's ancestral home. He has five children named Deepak, Kavita, Jaikishan, Anita, and Mamta. Sushri Saswati Sen, Shri Pratap Pawar, Sushri Prabha Marathe, and Shri Munnalal Shukla are the disciples he chose to carry forward his legacy.

Alisha Behura

Alisha Behura is a professional dancer from India. Popularly known as Nritya Shiromani or the Krump Queen, Alisha was born and brought up in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh. She came into the world in July 1999. Her father, Anjun Behura works in a steel plant in Bhilai, while her mother is a teacher in the same district. Alisha completed her Higher Secondary Education from BSP Senior Secondary School, Chhattisgarh. As a child, Alisha had a keen interest in dancing. Her family and friends referred to her as a born dancer. She spent a prominent part of her school life learning various dance forms. Alisha's forte is Hip-hop, Krump, and B-Girling. During her early teenage years, she started working as a professional dance teacher at Trickz Dance Studio, Bhilai, Chhattisgarh. The years spent as a dance trainer helped Alisha to become the best in her field. In 2013, she appeared as a contestant in the fourth season of the immensely popular dance reality show, Dance India Dance. The season of the show went on from October 2013 to February 2014, on Zee TV. Though Alisha did not become the show's winner, her confidence and dance style gained a lot of attention and appreciation. In 2016, she contested for the dance-hunt competition for "So You Think You Can Dance - Ab India Ki Baari." The show gave her a platform to express herself through her art and to grow as a dancer. Alisha Behura won the competition, which turned out to be the turning point of her career as a dancer. After winning the contest, she became a household name. Amateur dancers got inspired by the story of the small town girl, Alisha Behura. The talented dancer from Chhattisgarh also has a YouTube channel where she teaches basics of Krumping and Hip-hop. The girl from the small town of Bhilai has always been immensely passionate about dancing and wishes to become a full-time dancer in Bollywood. When asked about her favorite director, she confessed that she is a huge fan of Remo Desouza, the versatile choreographer, and director. She is an example to all those who are passionate about their art. We wish her all the luck for her future endeavors.

Alisha Behura Hindi Actress