Atlanta, GA: On May 12, 2013, Alliance theater at Woodruff art center was filled with the sound of ghungroo and Kathak bols or padhant ( rhythmic words). Kathak Utsav, means celebration of Kathak, is the fitting name for this event. At this 7th annual show, students of Aparna’s Dance Academy gave audience a rich experience of Kathak.
Starting with the blessing of guruji, Pandit Rajendra Gangani, and Ganesh puja, students of Aparna’s Dance Academy performed what seems like endless Kathak variety, one after another.
Early in the show, founder and dance director of Aparna’s Dance Academy, Aparna Sharma accelerated the tempo of the show with her performance. In over 15 minutes of performance, Aparna performed various Kathak compositions, amad, chala, ganesh paran, kavit, thodas, paran, gat nikas and gat bhav based on teen taal.
During a special performance by four different groups of young students, Aparna Sharma joined them and demonstrated a playful, yet skillful jugalbandi or sawal jawab.
In a two and half hour show, the beauty and complexity of kathak became clear from the very traditional and classical kathak performances. While new students demonstrated their keen learning and performance ability, one could see how skillful and experienced students have become over the years.
Three different groups performed three different Tarana compositions, ( a classical kathak performance). Each group of students performed with Jaipur gharan chakkars, tatkar and intricate formations on the stage. One could tell the difference in the experience of the students with complexity of their performances.
Aparna Sharma said “Kathak is a very difficult art, and therefore, each student should get the best instructions from a qualified dance teacher only. Therefore, I teach each class myself. ”
Aparna Sharma has a Masters degree in Dance besides other academic achievements. Like each year, she has choreographed each dance, trained students, selected dresses/ costumes, and carried out every detail of the Kathak Utsav.
A number of music compositions were in-house productions of Aparna Sharma and her guru Pandit Rajendra Gangani. In more than a dozen performances, students performed on ,tarana, sargam, thumri, vandana etc.
Kamal Mohanty hosted the show. As the show progressed, performances on selected Hindustani classical music, and then folk music followed by a few selected classical filmi music demonstrated how these students have learned the art of Kathak and expanded their horizons in variety of dance forms.