Mrs. Jyothi D Tommaar
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, GANGAUR GHOOMAR DANCE ACADEMY
National Award winner Jyothi D Tommaar is a trained Kathak dancer and found her forte in dancing at a tender age of four. Her parents gave her all the freedom and encouraged her to do what she loved. She has been a regular compere on Mumbai Doordarshan since 1985 and now acts in TV serials. M.A. in Hindi and fashion designer by profession, she chose to follow her heart in dancing.
In year 1987, she was introduced to professional dancing world by Vasundhara Mehta and she joined Gujarati folk dance group Varnam. Later, she got selected as the leading lady for the Gujarati musical play “Eva Mumbai Ma Chaal Jaiye” [एवा मुंबई मा चाल जाइये] directed by Feroz Abbas Khan, as the lead lady and sang live. It is the first Indian play to be performed on Broadway Streets, New York, USA. While she was doing this play, Director Kundan Shah saw her and selected her to play the character “Sharon” in his movie “Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa”.
In year 1988, her sister introduced her to Late H.H. Rajmata Goverdhan Kumari, Padmashree Awardee – of Santrampur, Gujarat and she started learning the authentic dance form, “Ghoomar”. In year 1990, under her Guru Rajmata Govardhan Kumari’s guidance she conducted the First Ghoomar workshop in Kolkata. While performing with the academy and teaching several students in workshops held in India and abroad, she even wrote Scripts and Dialogues, Designed Sets and Lights for the Rajasthani Dance Ballets staged by the academy and assisted Rajmata sa in Direction, Choreography, Costumes and Jewellery for ballets, Koyaldi, (कोयलड़ी), Maa Karani (माँ करणी), Suraj Tharo Mukh Dekhyan Sukh Paaun (सूरज थारो मुख देख्यां सुख पाऊँ), Meera (मीरा) and Ganga ( गंगा ), which were performed by workshop students and academy members.
Keeping her Guru’s promise made back in 2003 to Sanjay Leela Bhansali, she trained Deepika Padukone in Ghoomar for film Padmaavat and choreographed the song “Ghoomar” with Kruti Mahesh. She received the National Award for Best choreography, along with Filmfare Award, Star screen, Zee cine, Times now Journalists Power Brand award and Indywood academy award, in the year 2019.
Gangaur Ghoomar Dance Academy is Govt approved and certified, it’s artists perform for festivals of India, through ICCR held globally. Since 1988 Jyothi has been with the academy, teaching and dancing. The academy pioneered the dance Ghoomar, the dance form which belongs to the Princesses and Queens of Rajasthan. Rajmata Sa’s vision and dream was to teach authentic Ghoomar to every possible person. As Assistant Director of the academy, she is now taking Rajmata Sa’s mission ahead and conducts workshops and performances in India and abroad making the vision of Rajmata sa Global.
Dr. Pratiba Naitthani
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, GANGAUR GHOOMAR DANCE ACADEMY
Dr Pratiba Naitthani is Asst. Professor and Head of the Department of Political Science at St. Xaviers’ college, Mumbai. Sangeet Visharad in Hindustani Classical Vocal from Bharitya Vidya Bhavan, (Affiliated to Bhatkhande Vdyapeeth Lucknow), Pratiba joined the academy in the year 1988. After Gavri Devi’s demise in June 1988, Rajmata sa was looking for a singer who could sing the Rajwadi songs in the traditional style. She guided and trained pratiba personally in Gavri devi’s style of singing. Originally from Garhwal, Uttarakhand Pratiba has carved her place as Rajasthani folk singer and has an album to her credit. She is the only non-Rajasthani singer who had the honor of singing and recording the state song of the Udaipur Royal family- “Mharo veer Shiromani Des”. She has travelled to 16 countries in the world as a cultural representative and a member of the Gaungaur Ghoomar Dance Academy. Along with the group she also conducts workshops to promote Rajasthani songs, dance and culture.
Apart from being so talented, Pratiba has also been recognized for her contribution in the betterment of the society. In the year 2005, Pratiba was one of the 29 women selected by India Today as the ‘Power Goddesses’ of India. Besides many awards for her contribution in the field of social service and media issues she has been awarded the prestigious ‘Pannadhai Award’ by Maharana Mewar Foundation, Udaipur for going beyond the call of duty for social service 2006.
She has also been felicitated by the Mayor of Mumbai on International Women’s Day in 2007 as one of the Outstanding Women of Mumbai city. Pratiba consistently works on issues related to children, women, tribals and welfare of society at large. By raising her voice against several issues concerning them. For example:-
– In order to highlight the indecent representation of women in the media, Pratiba started a campaign against the telecast of adult, i.e violent and vulgar, content on television. She filed a PIL in Bombay High court in 2004, as a result many directions and orders were passed by Honourable Bombay High Court to make television family and children friendly.
-She raised her voice against the use of children as young as 4 or 5 years old to break the Handi, in the Dahi Handi celebration. Even for children working on the sets of television serials for long shifts, that are now brought down to 4 hours per day. She started a campaign against advertisements which might be dangerous for children, if imitated and also against advertisements which demean women including vulgar/obscene posters, trailers, songs etc.
-Pratiba has been working to help the cause of the Acid Attack Survivors. Along with Dr. Ashok Gupta, (Padmashree) renowned Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, she was instrumental in increasing the punishment for the perpetrators of acid attack to 10 years imprisonment and above by an amendment in the CRPC Sect 326 A. They are also working towards rehabilitation, free surgeries of the Acid Attack Survivors and regulation of sale of Acid. Along with this, she campaigned for the welfare of the Acid Attack Survivors and for reservation in jobs and educational institution for these survivors in the Disabled Category, which has now become a legal provision.
-She has been associated with the Mountain Shepherds, an initiative for Community Owned Tourism in Uttarakhand, right from the conception of the idea in 2006. Mountain Shepherds now is a tourism company, owned and managed by the school drop outs and unemployed youth, predominantly tribals in Uttarakhand. This has helped reduce the outward migration of youth from the hills and has created job opportunities for them.
H.H. Mandakini Kumari
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, GANGAUR GHOOMAR DANCE ACADEMY
Her Highness Maharani Mandakini Kumari is the daughter in law of Late Her Highness Rajmata Saheba Goverdan Kumarri of Santrampur, Gujarat and endeavors to carry forward the legacy of this regal dance form.
She is a keen homemaker, having restored the Shri Joraver Vilas in Santrampur which is now run as a boutique homestay. She is now working on restoring and preserving other heritage palaces belonging to the family, as well as heritage buildings and temples in and around Santrampur.
Maharani Saheba is keen to carry on the legacy of this graceful dance form, passed on by Rajmata Saheba to the next generation. She believes that ‘Ghoomar’ is not merely a dance form, but a ‘Living Cultural Heritage’, which needs to be conserved and propagated in it’s authentic and graceful form as taught by Late Rajmata Saheba to her students.