Focusing on the major role which India plays in 21st Century international political, economic and cultural arenas, co-presenters American Museum of Natural History and Association of Indians in America called this celebration Global India.
“Dancing into the 21st Century”, a performance in the Museum’s Kaufmann Theater jointly presented by The Kathak Ensemble & Friends, Janaki Patrik, Artistic Director, and Sanskriti Center, Swati Bhise, Artistic Director, concluded the day-long celebration. Traditional items in the Kathak and Bharata Natyam classical Indian dance styles were accompanied by Murali Balachandran mridangam, Narendra Budhakar tabla, KV Mahabala Sharma sitar, Aarati Ramanand natuvangam, Saavitri Ramanand vocal and Ravi Srinivasan violin. Projected images of Indian painting, sculpture and architecture illustrated the inter-connection between Indian plastic and performing arts. The classical Indian dance portion of the program concluded with a restaging of a dance from the popular Bollywood film Dev Das, performed by Kathak dancers Sowmya Viswanath, Ambika Persad, Sandhya Menon, Simrata Kohli & Ahnya Chang, and Bharata Natyam dancers Devika Urvashi Bhise, Shruti Choksi, Nitika Nadgar, Roshni Sacs & Somnath Natarajan.
ANDALUSIA HINDUSTAN: A Kathak-Flamenco Duet, exemplifies the global
Both North Indian Kathak dance and Spanish Flamenco dance trace historic roots to north Indian gypsies. Two of their accompanying instruments, the sitar and guitar, developed from similar Persian prototypes. Earthbound, ferociously fast and complex rhythmic footwork supports the elegant upright body postures and sinuous arm movements seen in both styles. Clarity of hand gestures and sharply focused eye movements add to their dynamic impact. Poetry expressing deep emotions is central to the aesthetic of Kathak and Flamenco, as seen by the interweaving of two 20th Century poems by Spain’s Federico Garcia Lorca and India’s Mahadevi Verma in ANDALUSIA HINDUSTAN.