As the ghunghroos hit the stage, three generations of classical Kathak dancers began to perform at Cross Maidan on Saturday, day one of the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.
Celebrated dancer Padma Sharma set the tone for renowned daughter and disciple Gauri Sharma Tripathi and 16-year-old granddaughter Tarini, as tabla player Pandit Kalinath Mishra performed with son Satyaprakash and students.
Among those students were Raayan and Arin Nene, the sons of Bollywood star Madhuri Dixit Nene and surgeon Sriram Nene. “This is only the second time I am seeing them perform on stage,” said Dr Nene, who sat flushed with pride in the front row. “This festival is a great feature of the city, showcasing art for art’s sake and reminding us of the rich traditions we so often risk forgetting,” he added.
Gauri Sharma Tripathi, an artiste in residence at the South Bank Centre, London, blew on a conch shell, inaugurating the performance on an auspicious note. Septuagenarian Padma Sharma pulsed through a classical piece, which the succeeding generations moulded in their own styles. “My mother has choreographed the three pieces. Yet my dance practice has always been a probe. I am the transition, while my mother represents tradition,” Gauri said. “Tarini, meanwhile, works with her grandmother too and has melded elements of both our approaches and transformed these styles into her own.”
Backstage, choreographer Ashley Lobo congratulated Padma Sharma, describing himself as overwhelmed by her performance.
“Tradition is like a tree whose roots have to be strong in order for it to reach for the sky,” said curator Lata Surendra. “Like waves, the tradition has to flow from one generation to another and that was best represented by the trio’s performance.”