A Russian tribute to Kathak

CLASSICAL DANCE

A Russian tribute to Kathak

A brilliant performance of Kathak by the Moscow Theatre of Indian Dance ‘Tarang’ was held at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture recently.

The two-hour long Kathak recital by a group of Russian artistes, who performed under the guidance of Guru Ashwani Nigam, immensely impressed the audience.

The troupe of 25 artistes included Svetlana Nigam, Ekaterina Petrova, Oksana Dimenchuk, Yana Lykina, Margarita Tobakova, Victoria Anisimova, Alexei Dulnev and Natalia Malysheva. The main items included Mathrubhoomi Vandana, Guru Vandana, Tarana, Dhamar, Bhajan (written and choreographed by Guru Bind Deen Maharaj, grandfather of the eminent Kathak dancer Birju Maharaj), Suddha Nritya, Thumris and Ghazal.

The dignitaries among the gathering included eminent danseuse Shovana Narayan and her husband Herbert Traxl, former Austrian Ambassador to India. ‘Tarang’ was founded by Ashwani Nigam in Moscow in September 1996 as the dance guru in the Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre, Embassy of India. From 1999 to 2003, he was the chief choreographer of the theatre ‘Jhankar’ and ‘Sargam.’ In January 2003, he started ‘Tarang.’

Kathak is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances. It originated in Uttar Pradesh and is traced to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks or story-tellers. It today contain traces of temple and ritual dances. From the 16th century onwards, it absorbed certain features of Persian dance and Central Asian dance, which were imported by royal courts of Mughal era.

Shovana Narayan felicitated the artistes after the show and congratulated Guru Ashwani Nigam and his students. She lauded the wonderful dedication of Ashwani Nigam and his team and his hard pursuit in keeping the traditional art alive. “Art bridges nations and hearts of the people,” said Shovana Narayan.

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