While few venture to help revitalise the dance and music heritage of the country, a kathak performance provided a retreat to culture enthusiasts of the twin cities on Thursday.
The evening kicked off with a rendition of Raag Madh Kaliaan by the musically-adept Professor Shahbaz Ali on the harmonium. Traditionally considered an aide to vocalists, the instrument was played solo accompanied by Sarfaraz on the tabla.
Kathak, a form of classical Indian dance that was born in Hindu temples, passed on to flourish in the courts of Mughal emperors and after getting patronage by the elite, is now lingering in segments of a religion-dominated society through the support of the few whose love for the arts remained undeterred.
Renowned classical dancer, Nighat Chaudhry made a strong presence on stage, the mathematical rhythm of her ghungroo-adorned feet and powerful facial expressions coming together in a narrative, as the word “kathak” denotes.
Chaudhry, who was raised in London, is a ballerina-turned-kathak dancer, whose initial training was in modern dance though a gnawing desire to learn the traditional dance form attached to her roots led her back to her birthplace Lahore where she trained under Maharaja Ghulam Hassan Kathak.
“I am on a spiritual path now,” expressed Chaudhry, sharing that under the mentorship of Pir Syed Safdar Ali Bokhari, her dance was evolving into the transcendental experience known as dhamaal. Her final piece, which she said was close to her heart, was a fusion of kathak, dhamaal and mevlana to Abida Parveen’s Lal Shahbaz ki Chaadar.
A vocal performance by Tahir Khan rounded up the night as the keen audience piled requests for some lighter ghazals and geets. The event was organised by Mausikaar. “We have come a long way,” said Mausikaar Director Dr Seema, adding the organisation hoped to expand its school and teach instruments such as the tabla, sitar, flute, violin and guitar to interested students. Mausikaar is also running a music school in F-11 where the acclaimed Mehfooz Khokar imparts vocal training on Saturdays and Sundays.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2012.
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