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Spectacular “Avartan” Show, Rhythms in Motion

By Mahadev Desai
April 2014
Spectacular “Avartan” Show, Rhythms in Motion

 

Aditi Bhagwat performing. (Photo: Kiran Mudigonda)

 

Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation organized a program by noted danseuse Aditi Bhagwat: “Avartan” – Rhythms in Motion – at Meadowcreek High School, Norcross, Georgia on March 8, 2014. Ekal is a nonprofit working since 1986 in neglected rural and tribal areas to eradicate illiteracy. It operates single teacher schools, providing free basic education, healthcare, and vocational training to empower the villagers. With support from 42 US chapters and those in Australia, Canada, Dubai, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Nepal, Ekal is changing the lives of over 1.5 million children through 1,262 schools in Nepal and 54,764 operating successfully from Kashmir to Kerala in India.

Ticket price included a delicious dinner. The program, emceed with verve by Rachna Gupta, promptly started at 8pm and included an Ekal presentation by Malla Reddy and an appeal for generous school-sponsorships by Shiv Aggarwal, Atlanta Chapter President.

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Pandit Kalinath Mishra on tabla. (Photo: Kiran Mudigonda)

Aditi Bhagwat is an internationally acclaimed Kathak, Odissi, and Lavani exponent, who has given many performances in India and abroad. She had conceptualized a unique program to portray “Avartan” – rhythmic cycles of taal, saaz, aur awaaz with classical, Bollywood, folk, fusion, and Sufi pieces accompanied by vocalist and keyboard artist “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa” and “Super Singer” finalist Vaibhav Mankad, thaaps on the tabla by Pandit Kalinath Mishra, sarangi played by Sangeet Mishra, and drums and djembe beats of Taufiq Qureshi’s senior disciple, Gautam Sharma. The show’s creative director and visuals were by Kawa Hatef.

Aditi has delved into fusion dance under a US Department of State fellowship program in 2012, using her ghungroos like an instrument in duets with kayagum, cuatro, guinbri and banjo. Her jazz-Kathak and jazz-Lavani fusion concerts with the Grammy nominated Indian jazz maestro Louiz Banks and Shri Sivamani, her solo dance in Madhur Bhandarkar’s award-winning film “Traffic Signal,” and roles in several Marathi films and television shows have won her critical acclaim.

As the Atlanta show was on March 8, which was celebrated as International Women’s Day, Aditi opened with “Bhavani Dayani Vandana” an invocation to Goddess Durga, followed by a padant, a lecture-demonstration of Kathak, in the tradition of the Spic Macay movement started at IIT Delhi in 1977. Her countless swirls or chakkars, repeated at the behest of Pandit Kalinathji, to his thunderous tabla beats, enthralled the audience.

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Aditi Bhagwat on stage. (Photo: Kiran Mudigonda)

The gat-bhaav of Draupadi cheer-haran from the epic Mahabharata was a visual treat. The audience was amazed that Aditi could move so easily from one character (Dushasana) who was the torturer into one who was being tortured (Draupadi) and then into one (Shree Krishna) who was the savior, purely on the basis of her abhinaya!

Aditi brought the flavor of the Mughal court, where this art form found royal patronage, when she performed captivating Kathak pieces from Bollywood films Pakeeza and Umrao Jaan, in a very colorful and elegant costume. The folk segment featured a very energetic Lavani dance from Maharashtra which also elicited a huge applause.

Vaibhav Mankad’s song selections, including “Laaga chunri mein daag,” had the audience clapping and tapping their feet, and his soulfully sung Gujarati and Punjabi songs had them dancing in the aisles. All five segments had wonderful jugalbandis, and even these purely instrumental pieces were thoroughly enjoyed by Atlanta’s discerning audience. Aditi ended with a Sufi number to portray the completed journey and circle of life, the rhythmic cycle or avartan.

The auditorium had reverberated to a thunderous applause after every item. Attendee’s comments were effusive: “par excellence,” “phenomenal,” “impeccable energy,” “very graceful,” “perfect expression,” etc. There was something for everyone to enjoy. Divya Srivastava, a trained Kathak exponent and founder-director of Geet-Rung School of Dance and Music, commented that Aditi’s gat-bhaav was so beautifully executed that it brought tears to her eyes!

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Officers and volunteers of Ekal with the Avartan team.

This entertaining event choreographed by Aditi Bhagwat helped Ekal’s Atlanta Chapter raise sponsorships for 62 schools. Southeast Regional President Chander Aggarwal commended the fantastic team of volunteers who efficiently served dinner, managed the presentation and completed secure online credit card sponsorships. Since Aditi is on a national fund-raising tour for Ekal, which opens a school in the sponsor’s name for only a-dollar-a-day or $365 for the whole year, this program can be enjoyed in other cities, too. For details or school progress, please visit www.ekal.org and help change the lives of millions of underprivileged children.


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Video:
Aditi Bhagwat: Kathak/Fusion dancing
Published on Mar 9, 2012 
Aditi Bhagwat is a Kathak exponent from Mumbai, India. She is trained in kathak from Dr. Roshan Kumari ji and Nandita Puri and is under the able guidance of Kalinath Mishra ji who has trained her in the intricacies of laikari and taal.

Avartan
Published on Mar 9, 2012
Stony Brook HEALS presents AVARTAN at the Stony Brook SAC auditorium in Long Island, NY. Sitarist Ikhlaq Hussain, tabla exponent Narendra Budhkar, and film maker Kawa Hatef from NYC and Kathak exponent Aditi Bhagwat from Mumbai, India presented Avartan for the charity fund raising event for the war victims of Sierra Leone.



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