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Relive the Mughal era

Dancer Shoma Kaikini links her dance performances with her life experiences. Hence, the theme for this year’s Pratibimb, the annual showcase of Kathak dance school Nrityanidhi’s performers, is Nazakat or gentleness. It reflects ‘therav’ or calmness that Kaikini admits to experiencing after her recent engagement and with her wedding just around the corner.


Images from the previous editions of Pratibimb

To highlight the theme, Pratibimb 2013 will feature a confluence of Kathak with popular Ghazals like Aaj Jane Ki Zid Na Karo by Farida Khanum, Tumko Dekha To Ye Khayal Aaaya by Jagjit Singh and Yu Saja Chand by Asha Bhonsle among others alongside Thumri. “We are trying to revive the Lucknow courts of yore when they were filled with shringar rasa or romantic love and beauty,” says Kaikini.


Images from the previous editions of Pratibimb

The previous edition of Pratibimb was based on the experience of Sufis and showcased the dancer’s connection with the Almighty. This time, expressions will be the highlight. Explaining the concept behind Kathak, she says, “Kathak comes from the word katha or story and is principally storytelling through dance and music. The wandering ministrels made it popular and the Mughals offered them patronage which is when they incorporated elements from the royal courts like the tradition of tukda salaami (a form of salute) at the start of the performance and even, the form of dressing.”

One of the highlights of the event will be a performance by Harshvardhan Singh, a student of Pandit Birju Maharaj. While Nrityanidhi focuses on innovations in Kathak and producing dancers as well as choreographers, Kaikini admits that this time’s performance by 10 dancers will be closer to traditional Kathak than the previous editions.

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