LAHORE: The sound of ghungroo (ankle bells) filled Hall 2 of Alhamra on The Mall on Tuesday night as three dancers performed kathak before an enthralled audience.
It was a full house for Sangam, a show featuring solo performances by Anjana Kumari and Nilakshi Khandkar, both from India, and Adnan Jahangir, a kathak dancer from Pakistan.
The dancers introduced themselves through short performances on live music. Later, they got together for a performance to accompany playback of a recorded composition titled Sangam.
The orchestra included tabla, flute, harmonium and live vocals. The footwork and the hand movements were synced with the singing of sufi poetry.
The performers had met while training with Guru Rajendar Gangani in India. Gangani is a kathak dancer trained by the Jaipur Gharana.
“I am grateful to both ladies who agreed to visit Pakistan on short notice,” said Jahangir. He said the plan to perform in Lahore had materialised in three days.
He said the Pakistani consulate had facilitated the dancers by issuing visas quickly. “During my training in India, I realised that kathak performers do not have opportunities for growth in Pakistan,” he said. “The motivation behind this performance was to showcase the skills and technique being practiced in contemporary kathak,” he added.
He said training in India had been a great learning opportunity for him.
Lahore Arts Council chairman Attaul Haq Qasmi also spoke on the occasion.
“Those bringing a message of love and peace to Pakistan will always be welcome here,” he said. “However, when bullets are fired at us, we will answer with bullets,” he added, bringing a moment of tension to an otherwise relaxed environment.
Members of the audience said they were mesmerised by the final performance.
“Their chakkars and footwork were beautiful,” said Sadia Riaz, who had come to see the performance with her husband. She said the chairman’s remarks had been unnecessary. “There was no need for such comments following such a lovely performance.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2015.
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