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Rhythmic synchronization of music and dance
- Vijay Shanker

May 17, 2022

Kalaashish Academy of Performing Arts (New Delhi) headed by Kathak dancer Asavari Pawar, presented a musical dance tribute in the Kathak dance style, based on seven compositions of the veteran music composer Pt Vishwa Prakash at Stein auditorium, Habitat Centre in New Delhi on May 1st. The highlight of the group presentation was the fine rhythmic synchronization between music and dance, harmonious teamwork, led by the beautiful dancer Asavari Pawar, making the experience enthralling.

Entitled 'Swar Laya Nritya Sarita' the repertoire included various pure dance sequences, complex rhythmic footwork and expressional dancing performed by Asavari and her talented team of five male and three female dancers. The performance commenced with the expressional invocatory number in praise of Lord Shiva known as 'Ananda Tandavam' which had few steps similar to the Bharatanatyam technique. The male dancers were attired in blue costume and the female dancers wore a combination of blue with orange top and golden coloured "chunri" that gave a regal touch to aharya; the uniformity in costumes created a fine spectacle too. Pertaining to 'Ashtanayika' (eight heroines), Asavari vividly described the abhisarika as she adorns herself and sets out to meet her beloved and finally unites with him. Asavari is blessed with a striking stage presence; her expressions are soft, subtle and natural too, creating a lasting impression on the audience.

Asavari Pawar
Asavari Pawar

"Jhum Tanana bajat pejaniya" was another dance and musical delight. What's most amazing about Asavari is that she dances along with the team and allows each dancer to prove her or his calibre of rhythmic proficiency, which was particularly evident in the finale Tarana. The gazal "Silsila zulf ka" established the interrelationship between romance and the typical feminine beauty and charm, performed with subtle expressions by Asavari. The joyful dance in Vrindavan at the outset of Vasant Panchami, the festival of colours commences with lot of joy and happiness, as Krishna dances with Radha and the gopis. This number "Holi khelungi unhi sang" was the piece-de-resistance of the evening.

The musical support was rendered by Utpal Ghoshal for tabla, Uma Shankar for sitar, Anshu Kumar, Sharbari Banerjee and Ruchi Tailong for vocal music, Ghanshyam Sisodia for sarangi, Satish Kumar Pathak for flute and Pandit Vishwa Prakash for vocal music. The anchor for the evening was Seema Verma. The five male dancers were Ashish Kathak, Manish Gangani, Hridev Ray, Chanchal Prasad and Karan Bhaskar, and the three female dancers were Shruti Kotnala, Parul Sharma and Brijesh Kumari. Asavari says, "The male dancers are really devoted and dance with lot of passion and I provide them consistent encouragement."

Asavari Pawar's performances are a brilliant combination of aesthetic quality, rhythmic excellence and evocative expressions. She is the daughter of Guru Pratap Pawar and has been initiated into dance at a tender age, while she was in London. She further learnt from Pt Vijai Shankar, who was among the foremost disciples of Pt Birju Maharaj and classical music from the veteran Girija Devi. She also learnt Ballet and African folk with Haitian ballerina Lavinia Williams. While in the UK, Asavari taught Kathak at Leicestershire School of Music. After returning to New Delhi, Asavari established Kalaashish Academy in order to train young aspirants in classical Kathak. She also teaches dance at Delhi Public School in east Kailash. Asavari is a multifaceted personality, dancer, teacher, painter, choreographer and a writer.

Vijay Shankar is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.

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