Padmashri Kathak Guru Shovana Narayan performs with dancers from the Asavari Repertory and Anupama and Reva Srivastava at Smith Center in Ohlone College, in Fremont, Calif., Sept. 27.
InSyncKathak Dance School presented ‘Rhythm and Joy – An Evening of Kathak’ featuring world renowned Kathak doyen, Padmashri Guru Shovana Narayan, on Sept. 27 at Smith Center, at Ohlone College, in Fremont, Calif.
This was the culmination of Guru Narayan’s U.S. tour-2015 through eight cities – Houston, Dallas, Gannon University at Erie, Wilkes-Barre, Philadelphia, Yale University at New Haven, UC Berkeley and Fremont.
She conducted workshops, lecture-demonstrations and concerts that witnessed the maestro mesmerizing enthusiasts and patrons of Indian classical dance, music and culture. The tour also showcased eminent accompanying musicians Ustad Shakeel Ahmed Khan (Tabla) and Madho Prasad (Vocal, Harmonium), dancers from the Asavari Repertory and Anupama and Reva Srivastava.
The evening was spectacularly organized by Anupama Srivastava, founder and artistic director of InSyncKathak Dance School. Anupama, an engineer by profession, established inSyncKathak Dance School in Fremont in 2013 to propagate the legacy of Kathak among future generations in keeping with the principles of the centuries-old Guru-Shishya Parampara. She proved herself as a dedicated disciple, a brilliant performer, a competent guru and a meticulous organizer.
The evening started off with the graceful Asavari dancers, Shivani, Kartika and Mrinalini performing to the invocatory and powerful “Om,” the cosmic dance of creation, identified with Shiva’s Taandava. This was followed by ‘Sangat,’ where Anupama and her senior students, Jhanvi, Anjana, Swopna, Swetha & Monica, danced to the rhythmic compositions of Farukhabad Gharana on Tabla, played by Satish Tare and a dozen of his students from Tabla Niketan, Cupertino.
The younger disciples of Anupama (Reva, Sia, Ritvikka, Rishitha, Bhavi, Saanvi & Tanvi) then enchanted the audience by skillfully navigating the different speeds of ‘Teen Taal’ while rendering several intricate rhythmic patterns. Anupama presented an impressive solo, dancing to a Tarana in Raag Bagheshwari performed with live music rendition of tabla and harmonium. She demonstrated her command over ‘nritta’ including complex rhythms, elaborate footwork and dizzying pirouettes, and ‘abhinaya’ narrating the divine love of Radha and Krishna.
Padmashri Guru Shovana Narayan, with five decades of experience as a performer, choreographer, author and researcher, once again proved that as a dancer, she is sheer poetry in motion. She simply charmed and mesmerized the audience by introducing them to the vastness of the rhythmic canvas via reciting and dancing to the cyclical patterns. She also chose to perform a soul-searching piece ‘Ko’ham,’ as an ode to the ‘new woman’ and a tribute to Maitri, a Bay Area organization working against domestic abuse.
Stories often told from Indian mythology, Draupadi and Yashodhara, achieved new meaning and depth while gracefully presented by the celebrated maestro herself. ‘Shringaar,’ based on a classical Bandish (composition) in raga Hameer by the three elegant dancers from Asavari, was marked by their lyrical movements with concealed and controlled energy – the hallmark of femininity and strength of womanhood.
Incredible soundscapes were woven in the finale by the Asavari team, who were later joined by their Guru Shovana Narayan, who took the piece to the climax with an array of dazzling ‘Tatkaar,’ the furious foot-work. The show culminated with a thunderous applause and a standing ovation by the packed audience including senior Bay Area musicians Pandit Swapan Chowdhury and Pandit Habib Khan.