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What better way to start off this blog than by highlighting the way in which kathak crosses borders—cultural, generational, geographic? Another local dancer forwarded an article in The Hindu about the passing of Zhang Jun, a Chinese dancer who first arrived in India in 1954, nineteen years old and tasked with building a cultural bridge between China and India. Take a moment to look through the pictures. They speak of another era, of sustaining a classical dance when the political environment (in this case the Chinese Cultural Revolution) is against it, of the passion of a single person and its ability to inspire thousands of others, of the meaning of the arts in society, of the transcendence of dance.

(Update on 1/17/12: a more in-depth article about her life is available here.)

Zhang Jun teaching

Photo courtesy of Zhang Jun's family