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Cross-cultural movements by Isabelle

india Updated: Nov 13, 2006 16:02 IST
Highlight Story

THE THIRD and the final day of ‘Rangotsav 2006’ organised by Ravindra Amateur Natya Group in collaboration with Alliance Francaise de Bhopal ended on a harmonious note with a spellbinding dance performance by French Kathak dancer Isabelle Anna. Cultural enthusiasts gathered in large numbers to witness this fusion dance at Bharat Bhawan on Sunday.

The unique confluence of French and Indian culture marked her ‘contemporary kathak recital’, which began with ‘Religious Trilogy’. This composition saw Anna swaying to non-Indian music called the ‘Occidental music’ consisting of Hispanic, Arabo-Andulsian, Persian percussions and the Gregorian chants.

This was followed by a piece called ‘Mughal Trilogy’. The 8-minute presentation of the second piece captured Anna’s rhythmic kathak movements on Florentine music and Persian percussions. This was mainly divided into three parts: the first part was based on the invocation on a Turkish Ney (long flute), the second one was a dance inspired by four feminine Mughal miniatures and the third one was concentrated on establishing links between the rhythms of the Zarb (Persian percussion) and the whirls of the Dervish dances.  

The third composition called the ‘Toros’ saw Isabelle brilliantly depicting the bull (Taurus) in various manifestations in different mythologies. For example, as Nandi (the benign vahana of Shiva), as Mahishasur (the malevolent asura destroyed by Goddess Durga), as Cybele (the nature goddess worshipped in many parts of Asia, Rome and Greece).

The ‘Toros’ was followed by another compelling presentation known as ‘Bolero’ based on a melodic theme and tune composed by French musician Maurice Ravel. ‘Bolero’ sees the dancer being thrown into a dizzy effect combined with intricate foot movements and a spinning body (in a spotlight) starting with a minimal pace and then rising to a crescendo with a scope encompassing all the musical tapping and rhythms. And Isabelle performed it with such intensity and virtuosity that the audience couldn’t stop clapping for a while.

She also recited ‘Balerias’ by finely blending Flamenco with ‘Kathak’ pronouncing the similar pirouettes and footwork as the Spanish dance form.

Speaking to the Hindustan Times, Isabelle said that Kathak was the most aesthetically satisfying dance form. “No other dance form gives you so much of freedom on the stage. It is complete and rich in the manner that it can encompass any sort of dance form into it and therefore I could easily identify with it. Even after learning Bharat Natyam and Ballet I resorted to kathak just because of its flexibility”, she added.

Earlier in the evening, Reena Sinha welcomed the chief guest Ajay Singh on behalf of Ravindra Natya Amateur Group. She also greeted Franck Le Large, Director Alliance Francaise de Bhopal.