Ashwani Nigam born in a typical Indian Kayastha family, where music and dance is an important part of life. He watched his elders and followed their footsteps. His mother was a graduate of Sitar (Indian String instrument). Family atmosphere always promotes him to learn music.
Ashwani Nigam is a gifted Kathak Dancer. From very tender age his parents recognize his talent and took him to music school. He started learning Tabla (an Indian percussion instrument) when he was only seven. His first teacher Late Shri Fakir Chand Mathur invited him to learn Kathak Dance after feeling his ambition to learn dance. He Passed Prabhakar Degree in Tabla from Prayag Sangeet Samiti Allahabad in 1980 in first division and Kathak dance in 1981 also first division with distinction in Practical Examination in both subjects.
He is a versatile talent. He also done diploma in North Indian Classical Vocal and Violin side by side his regular Study of Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from Allahabad Polytechnic.
Although after passing Engineering he joined a Japanese company, he also joined Smt. Shovna Narayan and learned art of Kathak choreography for 5 years. He also actively participated in many of her choreographies like Muktilekha, Holi, Krishna, Mera Safar, Khag Urte Rehna, Anuttar, Parvati, Moonlight Impressionisum etc.
In 1987 he joined Shri Ram Bhartiya Kala Kendra Delhi under Guru Ram Mohan Maharaj, who is younger son of Late Shri Shambhu Maharaj. He learned Kathak Lucknow style from him for more then 4 years. Ram Mohan Maharaj took keen interest to develop his dance. In 1991 Ram Mohan Maharaj went abroad on deputation. Ashwani Nigam performed with him in his one of choreography ‘Mahishasur Mardini’.
In 1992 he joined Kathak Kendra Delhi under Guru Munna Shukla. During his 2 years course Pandit Birju Maharaj who was chief instructor and head of Kathak Kendra repertoire selected him to work under his capable guidance. Ashwani Nigam was lucky enough to work and learn Kathak under this legendary Kathak exponent. In 4 years of his Kathak Kendra he performed in number of Pandit Birju Maharaj’s Choreographies. Likely Hori Dhoom Macho Ri, Krishnayan, Nav Rus, Roopmati Bazbahadur and Kumar Sambhav.
In 1996 Ashwani Nigam was selected by Indian Council for Cultural Relations Government of India to represent India and its culture by impart training in Indian cultural Center namely Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Center in Moscow. He imparted training of kathak there till Dec.1999.
During his deputation in Moscow he always felt that Russian are keen lover of Indian performing art. They work hard to attain perfection. Because of language barrier mostly all Indian music and dance teachers provide real and professionl training.
Main drawback in Russia is that very few russian knows english of Hindi that is why the medium of education has to be Russian and very few teachers who come here were able to learn Russian language and till they learned this language their period of deputation was over. Real and professional training was always lacking.
Ashwani Nigam felt that and with more efforts he started learning Russian language. He also felt that students loose their interest in Indian dance because after a certain period and knowledge they feel no future in Russia for Indian classical dancer. They learn and learn, then what! Either they go some restaurant and dance Indian film dance. For sincere and dedicated Russian dancer it was a never-ending struggle.
Also Russian dancers either got scholership or go India on their own achieve diploma in dance while dancers of the same caliber who can not get either of them feel no recognition of her talent. Russia needs a reputated school where standerd training should be provided and the same will be tested and recognized by some Indian Music university or Institute. It will be a golden opportunity for poor but talented student to get standard training and diploma within their country.