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Nazakat, a kathak recital that epitomises feminine grace and beauty

RAWING from a theme close to the Lucknow gharana of kathak, Nazakat, this year’s show by Nrityanidhi, is centered around the intrinsic grace that comes with being a woman. “The themes for our annual shows are decided based on what’s happening in our lives and what is closest to our hearts at that given moment,” explains Ashwini Kaikini who runs the dance school along with her sister, Shoma. The show will see the troupe performing to a good mix of popular ghazals and thumris by well-known artistes like Asha Bhonsle and Jagjit Singh from Bollywood films.
Graceful, swaying movements, lithe, beautiful dancers, subtle expressions, vibrant costumes and soothing music will make for a kaleidoscopic evening that promises to have the audience mesmerised.
Modern twist
Meant to appeal to all ages, the ballet by Nrityanidhi is a fusion of contemporary and classical movements with familiar music to make it more relevant. It is their USP. “We always simplify kathak by using Bollywood songs with a classical base and combining it with semi-classical steps to cater to students who are strapped for time and don’t have the resources to learn the dance in its purest form,” Ashwini says, adding, “but we know where to draw the line. We maintain the respect that comes with Indian classical dance and don’t overdo the contemporary part.”
Set in a sprawling property, the classes at Nrityanidhi are held in the open amidst trees, with chirping birds for company. “I’ve always loved being close to nature and thankfully, we have an open space that we can use,” Ashwini says. They have over 100 students and despite being set in the middle of the concrete jungle that is Bannerghatta Road, the school is an oasis for the artistically inclined.
Holistic approach
Nrityanidhi’s annual shows strive to be a testament to the talent and discipline that the two sisters hope to inculcate in their students everyday. “We concentrate on creating artistes and better human beings, not just good dancers. It is very easy for a talented dancer to become arrogant and conceited. So we stress on being respectful and humble not only to dance but to other art forms as well,” Ashwini explains. To that end, they plan to start day-long classes where dancers will have yoga and music sessions and intense riyaaz in the near future.

November 9. At Alliance Française, Vasanthnagar. Tickets (Rs250 upwards) on indianstage.in

—Rashmi Rajagopal

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