Kathak has been one of the most celebrated Indian classical dance forms, evolving beautifully in terms of presentation and portrayal over the years. Kumudini Lakhia, a senior Kathak dancer, has played a pivotal role in giving the form a contemporary identity. As part of its annual event, August Dance Residency at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) will be featuring performances by Lakhia’s Kadamb Centre for Dance and Music.
This three-day event, starting today (August 14), will comprise recitals, discussions on Kathak and master classes for teachers and aspiring dancers. The event commences with Pranaam, where students from dance schools from across the city, like the Chhandam School of Kathak, Kaishiki Nrityabhasha (Odissi), Kala Parichay (Bharatanatyam) and Uma Dogra’s School of Kathak, will present performances on the history of Kathak. The second day of the event features a medley of compositions by Kadamb’s dance ensemble.
Titled Gati Pravah, the recital comprises acts like Dhamar, Mero Mann, Suverna, Sparsh and Tarana. Day three will showcase contemporary pieces by Lakhia’s troupes. The evening begins with Samanvay, where classic Kathak is combined with thumri and abhinaya (expressions). This will be followed by an act combining Sufi and Kathak dance. Lakhia says, “In classical arts, we tend to become mere carriers of the past. Though we respect the tradition, my institute’s objective is to explore new ideas. Earlier, the focus used to be only on mythological themes. But there are several other experiences that dancers can express through their performances.”
The festival also includes Pratipadarshini, master classes for Kathak dancers on August 15 and 17, where they get to learn a few pieces from Lakhia.