Chennai: Kathak artiste Seema Mehta, who is also the director of Kirtilals, has been awarded with the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar Award 2018, the highest National award for women, for her contribution towards women’s empowerment for over 15 years. She has been bestowed with this honour for teaching Kathak to children and young adults from disadvantaged communities. President Ram Nath Kovind gave the award at a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhawan on International Women’s Day. Seema Mehta’s journey with Kathak started in California. After watching Pandit Chitresh Das’s performance, she was mesmerised by the beauty of this art form. While she was studying in California she also began her study in Kathak. She did her debut performance at NCPA, Mumbai in January 2009. In 2010 she moved to Mumbai to open her dance school. She is the director of Chhandam Nritya Bharati in Mumbai and is actively involved in the preservation and promotion of Kathak, both locally and globally. She continues to perform in India and abroad. Apart from that, Seema also comes from a business family.