Sunday October 20 2019
 

 

About Kathak & Dr. Anindita Sen

Kathak is a North Indian classical dance which has a long past nurtured in the holy precincts of the Hindu temples.  Kathak has over the years attained refinement and enriched itself with various hues and embellishments. Kathak originates from the word "katha," which means stories. This was evidenced in the ancient Sanskrit text, "Sidhhanta Kaumudi," by Panini.

There is a popular saying "Katha kaahe so kathak." One who tells a story is a "kathakar," or storyteller. The concept of a kathakar impersonating various characters in a story has been referred to by Bharata in Natya Shastra (one of the oldest treaties of Indian classical dance).   These story tellers traveled to different parts of the country telling and enacting the mythological Indian tales through mime, hand gestures and facial expressions.

Kathak as an art form was handed down from one generation to the next in a hereditary manner as an oral tradition. Developed over the years, and given by father to son, the skills, techniques, and knowledge of the art of Kathak resulted into two main schools (or gharanas): Lucknow and Jaipur. Held within a well-defined system of artistic values, the schools display salient features that distinguish them. However, with the passage of time, the demarcations are fast-disappearing with free exchange between the gharanas. The third well-known Kathak gharana is known as Benaras gharana.

 
  From the 16th century onwards, Kathak was patronized in the courts of the Mughal emperors.  Hence this dance form contains a blend of both Hindu spiritualism and aspects of Persian dances.   Kathak is also unique in this respect and differs from all other classical Indian dance forms.  Kathak combines fast footwork, intricate and graceful hand movements with repetitive pirouettes.  These nuances also sets it apart from other Indian dance forms.  Kathak is often referred as the Flamenco of the East due to the intricate footwork that is common to both of these dance forms.

Similar to all other Indian Classical dance forms, Kathak has an expressional component (Nritya), a pure dance component (Nritta) and a dramatics component (Abhinaya).  The pure dance component includes execution of thoras, tukras, and parans, which include mnemonic syllables and clear footwork while the Nritya component involves the execution of the graceful gatnikas.

About Dr. Anindita Sen

Dr. Anindita Sen is the founder and artistic director of Nrityangan. She has trained in the Lucknow gharana of Kathak for more than 15 years in Kolkata, India under the able guidance of gurus like Shrimati Amita Dutt and others. Anindita has performed and given lecture-demonstrations in several cities in India, US and UK.

Even though Anindita is a scientist by profession and works at Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN, Nrityangan arose from her innate passion for Kathak. Through her dance school, Anindita has been imparting Kathak training for the past few years to students in Iowa, North Carolina and currently in Carmel, IN. Anindita is active in the Indianapolis cultural community. 

Within the last few years, Anindita and her students have performed at the Indiana Association of Indianapolis Diwali event at Murat Theater, at the IAI India Day festival, Indiana State Fair, Indiana International Festival, Asian American Alliance event, DePauw University Multicultural and Community Life event, Bengali Association of Indiana events, Tristate Durga Puja event, Hindu Temple of Central Indiana events and at the Ugadi festival sponsored by GITA, to name a few. 

Anindita is also a current faculty at the Academy of Gregory Hancock Dance theater (AGHDT) where she teaches Kathak.