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Kathak Utsav 2008: Kathak se Kuch bhi

July 2008
Kathak Utsav 2008: Kathak se Kuch bhi

Kathak se Kuch bhi (“Kathak to what not”) was the message delivered by Aparna Sharma, director of Aparna’s Dance Academy, at its yearly event, at the Meadowcreek high school in Norcross GA.

Often in social events, one is tugged or prodded to dance. In such situations, even if you have some dance training, you would either try to copy others or copy the steps from the movie. Sharma suggested doing your own steps. To a packed auditorium, she promised that with proper training, one can dance on any music.

With those word came the surprise item of the night, a dance performance on the song “Aaja Nachle “. To demonstrate her point, choreography included Kathak, Rajasthani and Haryanavi folk, but no steps from the film. In typical Rajasthani moves, dancers gyrated at 45 degree inclination and jumped in the air.

Audiences’ surprise was evident in the cheers and claps, when Sharma joined her students towards the end of the “Aaja Nachle...” Shouts of “more” could be heard for several minutes after the conclusion of the show.

Kathak Utsav is an annual show organized by Aparna’s Dance Academy. Its mission is to introduce and promote Kathak dance form. Kathak Utsav 2008 had several performances on Kathak, Rajasthani folk and filmi music.

Nivedita Garabadu, RJ at Spice Radio, hosted the event. In Kathak Utsav’s tradition, event inauguration included prayers to Lord Ganesha, and guru vandana. From then on, in the typical jaipur gharana form, students performed Kathak, folk and filmi items with high energy and speed.

In the Radha Krishna ballet, a stage full of dancers performed making intricate lines, semi-circle, circles, and swirling movements. Among Rajashthani Folk dances, students performed on songs “Mharo Ghaghro re..”, “Mhari Derania Jethania...”, and Ghoomar. Their spins were making most in the audience dizzy. When they crossed paths in formation and at fast speed, it seemed like dancers would collide; but the precision of the dancers came through.

Sharma had one more trick up her sleeve. She introduced two sisters, who not only live all the way in Alabama, but have also been taking lessons from Sharma for only six months. Their performance on a Kathak piece suggested years of rigorous lessons.

After a number of Kathak, folk and filmi performances, the event ended with the eye-popping Aaja Nachle dance item. Sharma awarded Diplomas to graduating students. The venue is known for its less than perfect lighting system, but students’ performances made up for that.

Kathak Utsav 2008 has proved yet again that audience appreciate a clean, fresh, and entertaining program, even among the packed calendar of cultural shows, and graduation ceremonies. With several tricks like “Kathak se kuch bhi....” throughout the event, it kept the audience guessing.

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