Shrimati Shika Mohanlall-Harrypaul began her studies in Kathak dancing in 1999 at the Institute of Classical Music & Dance, Kala Darshan in Durban.
Under the strict discipline of Shri Manesh Maharaj, Shika was groomed individually with intense training in a unique style that blends Jaipur, Lucknow and Benares gharanas. The year 2005 marked the year of her graduation as a professional Kathak dancer.
Shika went on in 2006 to compile a book on Kathak titled “Kathak Darpan” – A Reflection of Kathak. The book was to aspire and be used as a reference book for all students practicing the art form. She launched this book with a Kathak dance recital as a professional solo artist and author in this fine art form
Shika remained as senior dancer for Kala Darshan for 9 years until her relocation to Johannesburg in June 2007. Shika by then had performed extensively for conferences and cultural events. She has also played lead roles in highly acclaimed dance productions namely Utsav – year 2000, Dance Of The Gods – year 2002,Sur Singaar – year 2003, Krishnaleela – year 2004, Dancing Ragas – year 2005, Geet Milan – year 2006.
Shika relocated to Johannesburg and upon her arrival she realized the thirst for this art in Johannesburg especially in its pure form. Shika established Darpan Dance studios since 2009 in Randburg via the assistance of a her husband Ashwin Harrypaul and the RHCS ( Randburg Hindu Cultural Society ).
Darpan Dance studios first production titled “KATHAK KI DHUN” in Randburg in 2011. This show was held on the 26th of November 2011. The highlight of the show was the live music performance of pure dance displaying the technical aspects in Kathak . “Kathak Ki Dhun” also entailed dances to the rhythms of worship. Embedded in the Hindu culture, this show reflected spirituality and passion through a vibrant art of Kathak. The show was a huge success. It was also described as a celebration of spiritualism expressed through joy and love, explored in up-tempo classical pieces. “Kathak Ki Dhun” was a truly South African performance with hearts that was beating to the tunes of our Indian origins.
The year 2012 marked the birth of Shika’s son, Aaradh. This was also the inception of the Benoni classes. The long distance from her home as well the progression of her pregnancy was no obstacle for her passion to spread Kathak in all corners of Gauteng.