'Every Hindustani classical dance form has its own aura and exerts a particular influence on the audience. To my mind, kathak is catching up fast with the West for its liberal range of thematic improvisations, and its spiritual and sensual appeal," opines kathak dancer Sandip Mallick, who arrived in Chandigarh on Thursday from Toronto for a performance for ICCR at Pracheen Kala Kendra, Sector 35.
With an impressive dossier of performances in India and abroad, the Kolkata-based dancer is originally a commerce graduate and a disciple of Vidushi Sreelekha Mukherji and Pandit Birju Maharaj. "Since 2001, I have regularly been performing in European countries and the US. My participation in the International Kathak Festival in San Francisco (USA) in September 2006, where top kathak stalwarts performed, was a dream come true for me; the memories are still fresh," says Sandip.
"I do not differentiate between the three gharanas of kathak, as I believe that the dance form, in its entirety, is a huge gharana itself; also because I am open to fusion and experimentation. In fact, it was the jugalbandi of kathak and flamenco, under the guidance of Sujata Chatterji, in the UK in 2002, that helped me to gain popularity. Today, I teach the same to my students in Europe and back home in Kolkata," he says.
One of his students, Ivana Hanslova, and her daughter, who loves to be called 'Anoushka', learn and teach kathak at their dance institute in Prague. "There are many such institutes propagating the solemnity and grandeur of kathak," concludes Sandip.