Dynamic Kathak recital
- Vijay Shanker, Mumbai
e-mail: vijaydance@gmail.com

February 17, 2012

The 22nd Pandit Durgalal Festival was organised by Sam Ved Society of Performing Arts at the Nehru Centre Auditorium in Mumbai on 19th January. The festival featured the legendary Kathak maestro Pandit Chitresh Das and Gati Gayand performed by accomplished dancers Daksha Mashruwala, Uma Dogra and Vaibhav Arekar.

Kathak exponent Uma Dogra is possibly the only one who has been organising the Pandit Durgalal Festival every year without any interruptions. Being the ardent disciple of the late Kathak maestro who died at a young age, this festival is a humble gesture of reverence towards her mentor. Uma Dogra established the Sam Ved Society with the intention of propagating and promoting classical arts through the medium of performances and training young aspirants.

Gati Gayand featured three distinct classical dances styles, namely Odissi, performed by Daksha Mashruwala and her students, Kathak by Uma Dogra and her students and Bharatanatyam by Vaibhav Arekar and his students. Although all the three styles are technically different with distinct presentation styles, it was a pleasure to watch all three of them on one single platform.

Vaibhav Arekar & group

Daksha Mashruwala & group

Uma Dogra & group

Pandit Chitresh Das

‘Gati Gayand’ as the name suggests exposes the rhythmic and tala cycle of each dance style separately. Bharatanatyam dancer Vaibhav Arekar and his students presented the "pancha-jathi" variations as used and performed in Bharatanatyam with the basis of adi tala. Similarly, Kathak dancer Uma Dogra and her students demonstrated as to how teen taal of 16 beats and other tala cycles are used and performed in Kathak. The performance demonstrated footwork in varied rhythmic patterns wherein circular movements are performed, hence known as "Chhakardhar pradhan nritya" in which the dancer has to maintain  perfection in rhythm, while performing the circular movements too.

While the Odissi style is quite different technically, the torso deflections and the tribhangis (three-phased pose) have to be maintained throughout the pure dance sequences which is known as the Pallavi. Commencing with the basic "chauka" and slowly flowing into other rhythmic cycles was the highlight of the program performed by Daksha Mashruwala and her students. All the three dancers Uma Dogra, Daksha Mashruwala and Vaibhav Arekar are established teachers and performers and run their own dance academies as well.

The audience was eagerly waiting to watch the legendary performer Pandit Chitresh Das perform. Chitresh Das commenced with an invocation to Lord Nataraja, and appeared on the stage with incense sticks in his hands. After that, he performed pure dance rhythmic patterns but the highlight of the program was Kathak Yoga, wherein the dancer is seen dancing while maintaining perfect rhythm on the tabla and singing too, which is not an easy task for one is likely to get breathless as it is quite tiring. The audience was quite excited to witness this rare feat of the maestro. Chitresh also enacted the sequence of Draupadi Cheerharan, wherein Lord Krishna appears as the saviour. The California based maestro concluded the performance with a bhajan in praise of Lord Krishna. Chitresh Das received fine orchestral support from Pt Bhavani Shankar on pakhawaj and Pt Kalinath Mishra on tabla and other musicians. The veteran maestro received a standing ovation for his outstanding performance.