Sino-Indian Kathak connection

Sino-Indian Kathak connection

Sino-Indian Kathak connection

Her tense voice did not seem to match the dimpled and ever smiling expression of her face. Catching up with Metrolife ahead of her Kathak recital in Kamani Auditorium for the 4th International Dance and Music festival, Zhang Xiaoqing from Beijing giggles intermittently to lighten the conversation.

Zhang is a Chinese language teacher in Beijing, especially for foreigners. While that is her calling, Kathak is now her passion. She has been learning Kathak since 2008 in the Indian embassy’s cultural centre in China. Having practiced Chinese folk dance in her initial years, Zhang says, “As I started learning Kathak and Indian vocal music, I felt drawn to Indian culture. It’s so complicated, but the more you know about it, the more you are attracted towards it.”

Her face lit up when asked if she had a gruelling rehearsal schedule for this act. “Once I start practicing, my feet just do not stop. Dance brings out so much out of me- my joys, fears, all sort of expressions that lie buried inside our heart,” says ebullient dancer.

It is the second time she was travelling to India. The first time she came, she got the opportunity to travel down to Rajasthan and Rishikesh. Learning Kathak makes her more curious about the culture of this country as she gets to travel and meet different people because of these performances. “Our cultures are completely different, so I always feel lucky to come back to India and unsheathe different facets of this diverse country,” says the enthusiastic dancer.

Here in India, Zhang performed with international artistes from Kazakhstan, France, Russia, Mexico and Malaysia. Talking about this cultural convergence, Zhang says, “When all of us interacted, we compared our cultures with that of India. I was specially interested in finding differences between dance forms such as Kathak and
Bharatanatyam.”

In her Kathak recital, she presented four sections, elaborating upon it, she said, “I will perform a vandana, followed by a set on bhajan, thumri and conclude it with taraana.”

The ease with which she speaks about the intricacies of Kathak leave you gasping at her knowledge and interest in the dance form.  Signing off, she adds that the next time she comes, she would love to return to the peace and solitude in Rishikesh, where time
slows down and life
becomes enjoyable.

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