Thursday, 9 May 2013

Mahagami Gurukul at Aurangabad - Dr. Sunil Kothari

It was a sheer pleasure to visit Mahagami Gurukul at Aurangabad for four days beginning with the celebrations of the World Dance Day from 27th April. For the past five to six years, I was invited to Bangalore and other places for the World Dance Day celebrations. It is always very educative to visit other places in India to see the horizontal growth of classical dance, and dream places like Protima Bedi’s Nrityagram at Bangalore, Ratan Thiyam’s Chorus Repertory Theatre at Imphal, Veenapani Chawla’s Adishakti institution at Puducherry, Chandralekha’s Spaces at Chennai to name a few, make one aware of the work done quietly in other parts of India.
It was during International Kathak festival at Chicago organized by Dr. Sinha few years ago that I happened to note Parwati Dutta and her Kathak performance. Her interest in pakhavaj and dhrupad drew my attention. That she was equally at home with Odissi and playing mardala, I did not know. She recalls that during our visit to Avignon Festival in South France, she had asked me few questions regarding ‘parna riti’ mentioned in my book on Kathak. That someone so young had carefully and diligently read my book had indeed impressed me a lot. She received training in Kathak under Birju Maharaj at Kathak Kendra and Odissi under Madhavi Mudgal and Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. She performed quite extensively as a solo dancer and when Odiya poet and scholar Jiwan Pani was director of Kathak Kendra, she used to ask several questions about shastra, as her interest in researches was deep. She hailed from Bhopal and hence had exposure to great Dhrupad masters, Kathak of Raigarh durbar and cultural activities that took place in Bhopal. Moving to Delhi, the training and also witnessing dance performances, attending seminars and developing a holistic approach to art, helped her grow into an inquiring dancer, not content with only performances.

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