It was a treat for classical dance lovers to witness trained and upcoming Kathak dancers on one platform. The two-day long Duet Dance Festival held by Rag Virag Educational and Cultural Society, instituted by Geetanjali Lal had artists presenting and explaining to the audience the minutest nuances in Kathak.
The festival held at Muktdhara Auditorium, commenced with Ipsita Chatterjee and Russian artist Natalia Dits performing Shiv Stuti. The duo presented Kathak mudras in Thaat, Amaad, Paran, Ganesh Paran and Ladi. The myriad hues of the dance form came alive when two dancers presented a thumri which spoke of bantering between Lord Krishna and Radha. Through delicate hand movements and brilliant facial expression, Kathak dancer Shailja Nalwade and Swati Wangnoo Tiwari mesmerised the audience while performing on Ganesh Vandana.
The festival was not about presenting the purest form of dance but also to bring to light the teachings of known scholars. The choreography by ace Kathak exponent Shovana Narayan focused on the life and philosophy of Swami Vivekananda and presented by her disciple Shivani Malhotra. Her piece highlighted minute details of Kathak through Amad, Paran and Tode-Tukre in teen taal.
The second day of the festival was dedicated to male Kathak dancers who began the show with a Shiv vandana ‘Jai Shiv Shankar Aughardaani’. Keshari Nandan Jha and Shiv Dutt Maharaj of Lucknow gharana performed on Upaj and Jugalbandi Paran on teen taal. But it was the 108 chakkars by the duo which had the audience truly mesmerised.
The energetic performances were preceded by Punita Sharma and Priyanka Sachdeva who began their performance with a prayer and thumri Mohe chhedo na nand ke sanhu chhaila. The stage was doused in the colours of Kathak when Punita presented a combination of teen taal, jhaptaal and dhamaar together.
Lastly, Geetanjali Lal performed on Jai Bhagwati Devi Namo Varde based on Bhajan Taal and Raag Yaman Kalyan raag. The festival ended with Geetanjali’s performance on Raag Baageshwari, Aeri mere saajan nahi aaye.