Venue: Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon
Date: 9 September, 2016
Indian classical music and dance have a timeless appeal. A host of dancers are exploring these classical forms in traditional or contemporary themes.
We have recently watched a dance production based on the music culture of courtesans or tawaifs. In this production, Mansi Chaturvedi highlighted the dances of the courtesans of yester years through an ornamental form of Kathak, that she called Darbari Kathak.
In contrast, Aditi Mangaldas the celebrated Kathak exponent, established this point during her production “Uncharted Seas” that we saw at as part of HCL Concerts series held at Shiv Nadar School. Aditi performed along with her troupe who comprised of three male and four female dancers. These would be her senior students since we have already reviewed a performance Samvet by Rachna Yadav.
The hour long piece was based on the loving oneself and loving God. The choreography was purely within the ambit of Kathak that was not adulterated with elements of calisthenics or modern dance. The ballet like production was made contemporary through soft synchronized movements.
We could see that a lot of attention has been paid to aesthetics or visual appeal. In fact the use of colours in the dancers’ skirts or scarves made a statement about the tenor of piece. At times in addition to the Kathak bols, Aditi and her troupe made music through claps and danced to it.
The dance pieces were punctuated by small soliloquies by Mangaldas. She had incorporated the teachings of J Krishnamurti in these elocution like pieces. It was a very novel philosophical angle to a dance piece.
Overall, the whole composition was extremely poetic yet lyrical. The audience was visibly moved to see such a modern item through an age old craft like Kathak. The evening lingered in our heads for days thereafter.
We also watched Vishwamohan Bhatt with his Mohan Veena and his son Salil Bhatt perform in the HCL series. We are in fact are grateful to HCL to bring these classical art forms to the contemporary darbars of India.