'I live to dance'

'I live to dance'

Adding Rhythm

'I live to dance'

Involved: Isabelle Anna with Quincy Charles. DH photo by Vishwanath Suverna

Whether she is dressed in a full silk regalia of a traditional Kathak dancer or in a sleek contemporary costume, Isabelle Anna, lives and breathes Kathak.

Talking to Metrolife about how she strode into Kathak, Isabelle said, “From the age of five, I absorbed the nuances and spirit of Indian culture because my parents opened a cultural centre Mandapa in Paris to promote Indian dance in France. It is still operational and managed by my mother and younger sister who are also dancers,” she says.

Isabelle is recovering from the recent loss of her father who wanted to hand over the dance academy Mandapa to her as he had immense faith in her passion for the dance as well as her administrative skills. “I will now have to shuttle between Paris and New Delhi where I now live to fulfil the promise I made to him,” she says. Having learnt Bharatnatyam from a young age, she continued in that discipline for 15 years before moving to Kathak. When she is not studying, choreographing or practising dance what does she do? “Maybe dance a bit more,” she beams.

Talking about her love for the art, Isabelle say, “It is not easy to have any other interests when your whole life is consumed by a single passion.” 

Italian food is her favourite but she eats anything that is not too oily or spicy. Ask her about her fitness regime and she laughs. “Oh no, I am not really fit,” she insists. Then how do you have enough stamina to perform demanding routines for hours on stage? “My energy stems from a deep seated passion. I live to dance.” she replies.
Isabelle has travelled across the world as an ambassador of Kathak. “Dance takes me to many interesting places and I would love to go to Indonesia and maybe China someday. I love the Far East,” she says. While Kathak is her main anchor she feels that different dance forms can be merged together, each one enriching and complementing the other.” After all, the gypsies from India travelled to Spain and added their rhythm to the Flamenco. I also like to add elements of the South American  Tango when I choreograph certain pieces as dance must never be one dimensional or stagnant,” she explains.