"The present times belong to fusion, but artists need to maintain the dignity of old dance forms as well. Blending of eastern and western art must be done in a way that each one maintains its unique identity and grace."
These views were expressed by renowned Kathak dancer and choreographer Pratap Pawar in an interaction with reporters here today.
Pawar said that the music from all parts of world was based on rhythm and dance was based on expressions and movements. This was a factor that made it possible to blend them together, he added.
According to this renowned artist, who is the first ‘Gandabandh Shishya’ of legendary Birju Maharaj, Kathak has wider boundaries as compared to Bharatnatyam. Pawar learned Bharatnatyam in the early stages of his career and then switched to Kathak after meeting Birju Maharaj. Recalling the time when Birju Maharaj was not a very well known figure on the national scenario, Pawar says that the same fire and passion reflected in his gestures then too.
Pawar strongly believes in the Guru-Shishya tradition and emphasised that there was a lot of difference between a teacher and a ‘Guru’. Pawar stressed that faith and loyalty towards the Guru takes every disciple to new heights. He said that there was a lot of difference in the art scene here in India and in England. Artists in England get lot of grant and encouragement from the government. Art field in India is politically oriented, he opined.
Pawar hails from Indore and has done his graduation from Christian College. He took training in Kathak from Delhi. “My roots are in the soil of Malwa,” he remarked. Pawar wishes to conduct dance workshops in Indore with the Kathak Gurus over here. “I feel very happy when people in other countries praise the hospitality of Indore,” said Pawar.
He was first sent to Guyana and Fiji by Indian Government in 1972 and has lived abroad since then. He has been living in the United Kingdom for past 20 years.
Pawar, who decided not to join films way back in 1970s, is now happy with the decision. In his words acting was a very insecure profession. As a dance guru, he feels there was a lot more to be done and wanted to teach disciples till his last breath.
He has relatives like Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle and friends like B R Chopra, Saroj Khan and others in the film industry.
Pawar has a very positive approach towards life, and this, he said, was developed after witnessing transformation in the Indian political and art scenario and the influence of India on the west. About fusion of Flamenco (Spain) and Kathak (India) in his performances, Pawar excitedly reveals that it came about just as a tribute to art.
In his opinion Flamenco was one dance form that was closest to Indian dances in all ways. Flamenco found its roots in Rajasthan and even the Spanish artists admit this fact, says Pawar.
He has trained hundreds of students and rendered performances in places like Russia, Switzerland, Italy, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Burma, East and West Africa, America and many more. He is the founder and director of Triveni Dance Company. Pratap Pawar recipient of a grant award from the Arts Council of Great Britain as an associate of David Bentley of Royal Ballet, UK.