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A celebration of seasons in dance

June 2010
A celebration of seasons in dance

Rituraj, a celebration of seasons performed by Aparna’s Dance Academy, was one of the highlights of the Kathak Utsav 2010 at North Gwinnett High Schol in Suwanee, Georgia, on Saturday, May 1.

Performers told the katha (story) of the seasons in the Kathak style. The word Kathak originated from the word katha.

“In India we have six seasons,” explained Aparna Sharma, director of the academy. “One of them is Basant ritu, which is also known as king of seasons, or Rituraj.” A two-hour production was formatted into a 30-minute performance for the fourth annual Kathak Utsav.

The narration started with a story about the beginning of Earth, and the origin of its name, Ritambara. “Ritambara”—a Sanskrit name for Earth—comes from the various seasons that add splendor to the planet. The blossoming flowers and singing birds of Basant, the sizzling heat of Greeshm, the dark clouds and loud thunders of Varsha ritu and the pleasant languor of Hemant ritu were all presented with high-quality sound effects. Dancers used bhava or the expression of emotion to show the effects of seasons. Lyrics such as “Koyak ke kuk bhaware ki gunjan..” andthe accompaniment of lyrics such as “Savan aayo re….,” with the peculiar walk of the peacock were beautifully choreographed with bhava and layakari.Performing with her students, Aparna Sharma demonstrated her mastery of Kathak.

The event began with Ganesh puja and guru vandana (saluting the guru). Kamal Mohanty hosted the show. A number of dance items followed including Rituraj. Children and young adults danced to Kathak bol as well as Hindi film songs. The characteristic high-speed footwork and chakkars (pirouettes) of the Jaipur gharana enthralled the audience.

Aparna Sharma recognized the accomplishment of two of her students who recently finished their Bhushan certification. Rajnish Singh and Nikki Sagar received hugs from their guru. Both students spoke of their deep love for Kathak and their strong bond to their guru. A visibly touched Sharma said the students’ accomplishments were the result of their hard work, discipline, and love for the art and their guru.

The finale of the show was a jugalbandi, a rhythmic interplay between Sharma and her students. The dancers’ lightning-fast footwork, graceful hand movements and pirouettes had the audience on its feet, clapping.

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