Sitara Devi: The Empress of Kathak

Saurav Singh
4 Min Read
sitara devi

Sitara Devi (8 November 1920 – 25 November 2014) was a legendary Indian dancer known for her exceptional skills in the classical Kathak style of dancing. Her life and career were marked by extraordinary talent and a deep dedication to the world of dance, making her a revered figure in Indian art and culture.

Life & Career

Born in Kolkata, India on 8 November 1920, Sitara Devi displayed an early aptitude for dance. She hailed from a family with a rich tradition of performing arts, which undoubtedly influenced her journey into the world of dance. Her fascination with Kathak, one of the eight major forms of Indian classical dance, became evident at a young age. Sitara Devi’s career began to flourish when she moved to Mumbai with her family, where she pursued classical dance as a teenager. She not only mastered Kathak but also explored other dance forms, enriching her repertoire.

Sitara Devi’s career was marked by her exceptional prowess in Kathak. She elevated the art form with her incredible performances and innovations. Her dancing was characterized by grace, precision, and the ability to convey a myriad of emotions through her expressions. Her stage presence was captivating, and her performances were known for their spellbinding rhythm and choreography.

Legacy and Awards

Sitara Devi’s legacy in the world of dance is unparalleled. She was celebrated as the ‘Empress of Dance’ or ‘Nritya Samrajni’ by none other than the renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore. Her contributions to the field of Kathak transformed it into a widely recognized and respected dance form.


Her legacy extends to her role as a resolute advocate for the preservation and promotion of Kathak. She played a pivotal role in popularizing Kathak both within India and on the international stage. Her dedication to the art form and her innovative choreography continue to inspire generations of dancers and enthusiasts.

While specific awards may not be widely documented, Sitara Devi received recognition and honors from various cultural institutions and dance organizations. Her status as a cultural icon in India is a testament to her exceptional contributions to the world of classical dance.

Sitara Devi’s impact on Indian dance and culture is immeasurable. Her work inspired countless individuals to appreciate and engage with Kathak and other classical dance forms. She was not only a remarkable performer but also a torchbearer for preserving India’s rich dance heritage. Her legacy lives on through the countless students she trained and the enduring influence of her performances.


In conclusion, Sitara Devi, the Empress of Kathak, left an indelible mark on the world of dance. Her exceptional talent, innovation, and dedication to Kathak made her a cultural icon in India and beyond. Her legacy continues to inspire and celebrate the beauty of classical Indian dance.

On 8 November 2017, a Google Doodle was created to celebrate Sitara Devi’s 97th Birthday.

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