Kathak legend and pioneer Kumudini Lakhia during a workshop in Delhi recently, was telling both young and experienced dancers, “Put a story in your movement, aise hoti hai choreography.” The workshop was part of the Naval Kathak Utsav in Delhi on 15th and 16th of November, during the morning sessions at Meghdoot Theatre. In the workshop, she was assisted by her senior disciple Sanjukta Sinha. The morning breeze had a nip in it, as the workshop started punctually despite the Delhi smog and traffic snarls. It was an honour to be a part of this workshop. In a brief chat, Kumudini-ji emphasized that dance space has to be ‘landscaped’ or ‘designed’, and that every movement should be graceful, like a brush stroke, not abrupt or jerky. After that, Sanjukta came straight to the nritta portion. The first day, she taught that, aamad, and the second day, gat, baant and a paran.
Kumudini Lakhia’s list of awards and honours, national and international, is endless. Equally well-known is her reputation for being something of a ‘rebel’ in Kathak. However, the outspoken doyen of Kathak insisted that she never broke away from tradition – “It’s all I know!” she said. She just tried to find more within the tradition than the limited form that was popular with audiences, she said. In this interview, the 87-year-old Kumudini Lakhia’s formidable, vital outlook shines through as she declares, “The dance has to change, because it’s a living art form.”
Read the interview in the site