Monday, 10 June 2019

Srotas: An unusual jugalbandhi in Kathak - Footloose and fancy free with Dr.Sunil Kothari

I was attending a dance conference in Charlotte University in USA, when I received an invitation from Neelima Adhye, a senior disciple of Rohini Bhate to attend an unusual program in Kathak. We all who were attending Kathak Prasangs organized at Bharat Bhavan by Ashok Vajpeyi, knew of Neelima Adhye who accompanied her guru Rohini Bhate from Pune. She had also performed at Khajuraho Dance Festival and was acclaimed as a brilliant exponent of Kathak as developed by Rohini Bhate.

Nritya Bharati established by Rohini Bhate in 1947 in Pune is an institution which has trained a generation of dancers. As a matter of fact, credit goes to Rohini for establishing Kathak in Pune and later on in Maharashtra and growing over years crossing the boundaries of India and spreading abroad wherever her students continue to train the young generation.

Neelima is the director of Nritya Bharati Dance Academy, Pune. She also runs Prakruti Kathak Nrityalaya which she established in 1995. It is a branch of Nritya Bharati. She is a visiting lecturer at the Lalit Kala Kendra of University of Pune. I was surprised to learn that she is an M.S. in Maths having received the training and degree in USA. Once University of Pune was established with dance faculty, she obtained an MA in Kathak. She, as a performer has won critical acclaim from connoisseurs. As a teacher she transmits the technique of what may now be called Rohini gharana to her disciples.....

In the first half of the program, Neelima would ask questions to Subhash Chandra, a disciple of late Guru Mohanrao Kallianpurkar, his association with Mohanrao, and also demonstrate special features of Mohanrao's technique both in terms of nritta and abhinaya. In the second half of the programme, Subhash and Neelima would perform simultaneously, numbers as taught by Mohanrao to Subhash and as taught to Rohini Bhate from whom Neelima has studied, to bring comparison and also show few differences.....

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