Pt. Birju Maharaj at Alaknanda Institute for Performing Arts

July 5, 2011

Alaknanda organised the first Kathak workshop by Kathak guru Pt. Birju Maharaj at Alaknanda Institute for Performing Arts, Noida from 23rd to 28th June 2011. The maestro inaugurated the workshop on 23rd June with dancer Saswati Sen, Dr. H Dasgupta (Principal Brps) and Gautam Dasgupta (Music director).

About 150 Kathak students joined the exclusive workshop for which the parameters of selection were strict. Saswati Sen said that, "Knowledge is to be humbly asked for and treasured as a diamond." Maharaj-ji explained that dance through eyes is most beautiful and soulful. He said, "The four fingers are gopis and the thumb is Krishna who is always looking at them."

The junior batch is already trained for minimum 4 years and is learning the Krishna Vandana. The item describing the Lord’s beauty was taught by Saswati Sen and Maharaj-ji sketched out the nuances of abhinaya for all. Saswati Sen’s eye for detail is incredible.  The seniors were blessed with tihais in a series and Maharaj-ji created an extempore tukra that he taught the dancers. Saswati called it the Tukra of Noida. As he demonstrated every ang and bhaav, the dancers were awestruck with the beauty and grace of his every move. The energy Maharaj-ji has is infectious and the meaning he gives to dance is mesmerising. He makes your movement symbolize a diya, naath or a flower. One’s vision of dance changes when Maharaj-ji explains the curve of the ang and the bhaav to be associated with ang.
It is Alaknanda's dream to bring the younger generation closer to the legendary master and the values of Guru Shishya parampara which enriches our culture and art.  ‘Guru Pranaam’ on 28th June at BRPS Hall for the finale presentation was a salute to the master. Maharaj-ji sang his own composition to bless Alaknanda and the Institute. The dancers of the workshop and Brahmananda Public School and Saswati Sen performed to Maharaj-ji's thumri "Radha rani shyam roop dhar.. maand maand muskayee."

Maharaj-ji asked the young generation to take up classical dance and music sincerely and expressed his gladness that in today’s scenario of so much western influence, the Guru Shishya parampara is still prevalent and the younger generation is quite involved with classical culture. He said that it is not possible to become a star overnight. It takes lots of hard work, dedication, devotion, riyaaz, samarpan and understanding to become an artiste.