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Discipline through nimble foot

Coming from a family of doctors and lawyers, Vaswati entered the world of Kathak at seven. And right now she is busy directing and choreographing her production Pinnochio, a dance-drama by Hindustan Times.

india Updated: Nov 04, 2005 17:40 IST

'Choreography is not just dance. It goes much beyond it. Every choreography is like the opening of a new world teaching you the essence of discipline,

 SMART BOX

 Fantastic footwork

Vaswati Mishra lists her favourite dance sequences:

• Jeevan

Based on Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s poetry about life

• Mahadev

Ballet in chao style for Shiva

• Urmila

The agony of Lakshman’s wife in his absence

• Kanupriya

 

commitment and enriching your personality,' says the Kathak dancer Vaswati Misra.

Right now she is busy directing and choreographing her production Pinnochio, a dance-drama by Hindustan Times, that will be staged in December. Coming from a family of doctors and lawyers, Vaswati entered the world of Kathak at seven.

'Though my family was not into music or dance professionally, they always encouraged all art forms. Being into theatre, acting and sketching herself, my mother has been a lover of art. So I grew up where all art forms were thriving,' says the artiste of the Lucknow gharana of Kathak who received her initial training under Smt Reba Vidyarthi and later under the renowned Pt Birju Maharaj. Having mastered the art of Kathak, she held the post of a Kathak guru at the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra for over eight years after which she began imparting training at the Kathak Kendra.

'I have been teaching Kathak for so many years but I always had a dream of setting up my institute where I can teach my students in a guru shishya parampara. My dream came true in the form of Dhwani, our repertory and Pt Shambhu Maharaj Kathak Academy, name after my father-in-law,' said the great dancer who is married to Pt Krishan Mohan ji, also a renowned Kathak dancer.

A successful dancer-choreographer, Vaswati has performed at several prestigious festivals like Kalka Bindadin Mahotsav, Khajuraho Festival, Chakradhar Mahotsav among others. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has also empaneled her. Another feather in her cap, she performed on Khayal ( Hindustani style of singing) in 1991, the first time a Kathak dancer attempted to do so. Vaswati loves to work with childrenbe it her students, the under privileged children, or the differently abled.

Her repertory runs a school, Zaroorat, for the under privileged children. What makes this school unique is the emphasis on academics as well as fine art. 'Many of the children of this school will be part of Pinnochio.Though they have performed in shows before, this will be their first chance to showcase their talent on a large scale,” she said. Having worked with autistic children she says, 'Dance goes beyond physical disabilities.

Children communicate through emotions, not words. In fact, dance has helped many children come out of their shell and be more confident, not just on stage but in life.' Moving beyond the under privileged and special children, there are another set of children that Vaswati loves to work with the non-dancers! 'It feels great to work with children who have never received any kind of formal training. 'Many a time, a child does not realise his talent until given an opportunity. When such children start dancing beautifully, the satisfaction one gets is beyond words,' she adds.

First Published: Nov 04, 2005 17:16 IST