Student showcase of Kathak 
by Anisha Muni, New York

May 27, 2004   

On Saturday afternoon May 15, 2004, Lotus Music and Dance presented a Student Showcase featuring students of the esteemed Pandit Satya Narayana Charka, Director of the East-West School of Dance.  Dancers Michelle Boston, Joyce Gupta, Ishrat Hoque (Rakhi), Dorothy KraussEisenpress, Kathy Mills, Sairah Qureshi, and Gunjali Trikha, Pt. Charka’s students from his Manhattan Center at Lotus Music & Dance, performed.

Pt. Charka's Kathak students opened with "Mangalam," a composition blending traditional and modern dance choreographed by Pt. Charka.  Sequences of pure dance (nritta), followed an ancient chant, blessing all things: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Sky, Sun, Moon, Universe, Individual, Body, Mind, Soul... Everything.  This piece was presented in Roopak Taal, a seven beat time cycle.  Following this, each student individually demonstrated the dynamic rhythms and patterns of pure dance in the Kathak technique. The students closed the presentation with "Prabandh," a 12th century composition in which rhythmic patterns of the mridangam drum syllables were woven into graceful movements of Kathak dance.  Choreographed by Guru Maya Rao, the composition is in Raag Sarang and Teentaal (16 beat time cycle). 

The entire program displayed the complexity as well as the universality of Kathak dance. Its two major aspects, expression (abhinaya) and pure dance/technique (nritta) were represented magnificently. The students’ colorful, traditional costumes added to their performance and also gave the audience a flavor of this ancient dance form.  The program was very well received.

Anisha Muni is studying at the New York University for a degree in Anthropology.