A memorable performance by Isabelle Anna & Quincy Charles 
- Usha Raghavan, London
e-mail: u_raghavan@yahoo.com 
August 14, 2007 

I saw the Kathak performance by Isabelle Anna and Quincy Charles on July 31, 2007, at The Nehru Centre, London and strongly felt the urge to write about their performance.  It was a very pleasant evening.  The audience that filled the small auditorium at the Nehru Centre was cheerfully waiting for the show to begin. They had heard, some in the audience said, about Isabelle and Quincy, the two Kathak dancers and there was much expectation even before the show began. 

Guru Vandana performed at the very beginning set the mood for what was going to be an evening of a beautiful classical performance. Both Isabelle and Quincy presented the Vandana very elegantly and established their individual styles.

Next, they danced Nritta in Panchamsavari (cycle of 15 beats), a memorable piece of choreography.  It was a delight to watch the two dancers alternating, starting from a slow speed (vilambit leh) and gradually moving to a very rapid, rhythmic pace (drut leh).  The two dancers went on to do complex footwork to present the cycle and the thaat, involving the movements of the neck, eyebrows and wrists.  There was stillness in the hall and one could sense that the audience was totally immersed in this visual treat.  For every sequence that they finished, there was spontaneous applause.

A Bhajan composed by the poet Bindaddin Maharaj, "Meri Suno Nath Jaise" was performed next by Quincy Charles.  The episode of the cowherds suffering as the rains came down in torrents, the humbling of Indra and Krishna lifting Govardhanagiri were all majestically portrayed. 

Isabelle then presented a great piece, the Bandish "Payaliya Jhanakar Mori."  Superbly choreographed by her guru Pt. Jaikishan Maharaj, this bandish is part of the vocal repertoire.  Isabelle was poise and grace personified as she portrayed what was essentially a great poem, in dance form.  The sheer beauty of her abhinaya, poignant mime, graceful and nuanced gestures took us all to a higher plane where one instantly realised the pleasure of watching a soulful dance. 

The concluding composition was Taal Tatkar. A technical composition presenting the Tatkar on different Taals such as Teental, Dhamar and Ektal including all the technical elements of the Kathak style, the intricate footwork and chakkar made it all a delight to watch.  Both Isabelle and Quincy established in this piece that Taal is their forte.  Every chakkar was precise.  The breathtaking twirls, intricate footwork and complex rhythms were all executed with precision even as the performers alternated the sequences. 

As the program ended with a standing ovation, I was not surprised to hear someone asking, "Where do they perform next?"

A memorable performance, indeed it was.

Usha Raghavan, Director of ‘Kalasagara UK’ is a Bharathanatyam dancer, teacher and choreographer. 
For more information visit www.usharaghavan.com