Fifteen glorious years of learning Kathak
- Vijay Shanker
November 22, 2022
One of the premier dance centers of Mumbai, Dr. Tina Tambe's Ninad Center for Performing Arts, celebrated fifteen glorious years of learning Kathak and what was nice about the program was that about 105 dancers performed on the same platform, with a wide range of age differences, from tiny tots, six year olds and above to senior citizens up to the age of seventy five. The most noteworthy aspect was the sincerity and enthusiasm which was revealed through their performance with complete involvement and dexterity. The credit undoubtedly for the success of the program goes to Dr. Tina Tambe, accomplished Kathak exponent and director of Ninad Centre. Incidentally, Ninad has organized many classical dance programs to encourage, promote and propagate classical arts on a large platform. The program was held at the Ravindra Natya Mandir on 16th October.
The program commenced with the traditional deep prajwalan by the parents of Tina, Ashok and Kumudini Deole, which was indeed a great start to seek blessings from one's elders, followed by the invocation. The 'Dashavatar' (ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) was enacted by the senior disciples of Tina, who are professionals today, namely Saloni Lanjekar, Revati Lele, Reena Gandhi, Nisha Nair, Aparna Varma, Ruch Dharap, and Svetambari Pathare Potdar. Dramatizing and portraying the significance of each avatar (incarnation) like Matsya, Kurma,Varaha, Rama, Krishna etc in order was to prove the point that God appears in order to maintain peace and prosperity and to destroy evil. It was interesting to watch how abhinaya could become intense, unlike the normal Kathak performances which are more suggestive in nature.
While the little children demonstrated the basic steps with little nervousness and excitement, the parents were excited to watch their children perform. The senior dancers performed various pure dance patterns like Tode, Tukde, Shikar taal (17 beats), Raas taal (13 beats), Jhaptaal (10 beats) Rupak (7 beats), Dadra (6 beats) and expressional numbers like the festival of colours wherein Radha dances with gay abandon with Krishna and the gopis and the Thurmri "Sab ban than ayi Shyam pyari re" which again relates to Krishna who is also known as Shyam. A unique tribute was paid to 75 years of glorious independence with the number Vande Mataram which was followed by the melodious rendering of saint Vallabacharya's 'Madhurashtakam' -"Adaram madhuram, Hasitam madhuram, Nayanam madhuram" incorporating the sweetness incarnate- Lord Krishna. It was a pleasure to watch the dancers dancing with uniformity, expressional quality and rhythmic precision.
One of the most entertaining numbers of the evening was the interpretation of the medley of the songs sung by India's nightingale, Lata Mangeshkar, commencing with Tulsidas' "Shri Rama Chandra" followed with "Oh Mai", "Bichua", "Piya toh se naina lage re", the most popular numbers of Hindi cinema, which received thunderous appreciation from the audience. Another spectacle of 'Sita Swayamvar' with the lyrical rendering by Rudradutta Mishra as the dancers enacted the comic performance as the various kings try to break the Shiva Dhanush that turns futile, was watched with rapt attention.
Tina Tambe said, "I enjoy a lot of love and warmth with my students as learning Kathak for them is a consistent process of learning and enjoyment. Learning should not be strenuous as the growth happens naturally with continuous riyaaz. I also teach my students the basic values of life and how important it is to be a fine human being. Indian fine arts is a fine combination of both sanskaar and sanskriti."
The dancers received fine orchestral support from Tina Tambe on padant, Vaibhav Mankar for vocal, Satya Prakash Mishra for tabla and Alka Gujar for sitar, fine compering by Sejal Deole, Gayatri Tambe and Aparna Varma. Although the program exceeded three hours, it was amazing to watch the audience glued to their seats. Kudos to the dancers and Tina Tambe of Ninad Center.
Vijay Shankar is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.