“The dance heat of the Kalaghoda festival; The Kathak classic to flop hip hop. How much did it appeal to the viewers?
11th February 2010
By, Dhwani Dalal
The amphitheater accommodated a mixture of crowds; from admirers of the traditional Hindustani dance ‘Kathak’ to the western-Bollywood groove lovers; all set towards the stage waiting for the performers to heat up the stage. Young crowd secured their seats an hour before the western dance gig starts following the Kathak group; and the Kathak lovers too. It was a fair chance for both the audiences to enjoy different dance forms of individuality.
This year, the festival was fortunate to have performers from Maneesha Nrityalaya Charitable trust based in Pune since 1975; an opening solo performance by Guru Maneesha Sathe on the Khamaj raga was the perfect move to glue the audience. Manishaji executed the show with explaining essentials of the dance and went about different budges to get the interest of viewers. “In Kathak, Nrut explains the technical aspect and Nritya means the interpretation part” said Manishaji and performed a dance on an eighteen beats ‘Lakshmi taan’ exploring the place of beats in this dance form. The facade of Kathak is expressions, twirls and the most important of them is balance; Manishaji justified all three features in her magnificent style. Another solo act represented her skill of balance and one of the favorite dance styles of her Guru Gopi Kishanji was a tribute to her Guru; it was a dance where she chanted the ‘Toda’ herself and grooved on the brass plate, it mesmerized the viewers.
Maneeshaji’s institute is a blossomed tree with bunch of ripe fruits; the disciples and best of her students performed seven minutes of act on ‘Holi’ depicting a classic scene of ‘Holi playing’ with Krishna and Gopi in the Vrindavan. Dancers wearing range of colors were symbolizing the festival of colors; the song “Hori Hori..” composed by Pandit Balvant Shankar is a ‘Chatrang’ which is a fusion of four elements of Indian classical music, 'Bandish','Tarana','Sargam' and 'Pakhwaj'.
The last performance could not stop the audience to stand up and applaud; a synchrony act between the Guru and Shishyas playing with ‘Ghoonghroo’; the fascinating sound articulation of a Ghoonghroo stunned the viewers. The skill of producing a fine sound from Ghoonghroo was just a glimpse of their years of practice and hard work.
The next beat after the Kathak, was the most awaited play of the evening; The Bollywood-Salsa and Hip Hop. Very paradoxical to the previous dance; was expected to have a charm of its own; but the group M'2 (Mumbai) did not expel the energy that could grip the audience. A poor start with almost two years old Bollywood dance hit did not compel the viewers at a point. Low energy in the moves and lack of co-ordination dropped the show completely for the audience having high expectation with the standards of Kalaghoda and Times of India group. The Item number appealed to a set of viewers that too was disappointing when came to its end. Including the dance; it couldn’t even set the mood for one to groove due to the dull song selection and lack of preparations. An over glittered costumes did not attract from any angle.
The Hip hop part with the Bollywood fusion presented some of their best steps and co-ordination which recharged the audience. Trick of using props with a local contact like Maharashtrian ‘topis’ and goggles exited the ‘Mumbaikars’. The most unsatisfactory skit of the evening was the ‘Salsa’; not in case of a normal viewer but the connoisseur could easily find out the biggest flaw of the dance which was a ‘salsa’ performed on a ‘Samba’ beats. Neelam, a former graphic designer from the’ Time’ magazine New York said, “it didn’t work for me”. Where a Mumbaikar; Mr.Hirani Narayn said “I enjoyed the show, well everyone has got their own choice”.
Of course the show did not fall into the category of ‘non- entertaining’ but couldn’t cope up with expectations of the regular Kalaghoda visitors; where the Kathak group rocked the show in its own way; today’s evening leaded the young audience to look forward to our own classical dance, and won over the westernization again.