It was a medley of emotions shared in the limelight of the stage when the disciples of Jhumpa Chakraborty under ‘Leelangika’, the Kathak dancer, choreographer, and founder-director of the dance group, staged an ensemble of ‘Kathak’ at the majestic Oman hall of the College of Banking and Financial Studies (CBFS) recently.
Titled ‘Abhivyakti, a palette of Rasas’, the nearly two-hour-long bouquet of performances by these ‘kathakars’ were so enthralling it stole the heart of every person in the audience and left them wanting for more. It is no wonder that every member of the multi-ethnic audience gave a standing ovation to the stomping steps and the stories that transpired throughout.
One of the eight major forms of Indian classical dance and mostly attributed to the classical dance form of the state of Uttar Pradesh, Kathak traces its origin to the travelling bards in ancient northern India known as ‘Kathakars’ or storytellers. There are three distinct forms of kathak called ‘gharanas’. Interestingly, they are named after the states of Jaipur, Banaras and Lucknow where the Kathak dance tradition evolved. The Jaipur Gharana focuses more on foot movements while the Banaras and Lucknow gharanas focus more on facial expressions and graceful hand movements.
“Basically, Abhivyakti means expression and we, human beings emote different kinds of expressions throughout our life which has been categorised in Bharata’s Natyasashtra as ‘Navaras’ – nine expressions or emotions. Everyone expresses these varied emotions, but in Abhivyakti, these rasas were expressed through Kathak dance via different mythological stories,” Jhumpa explained.
Prema Nagesh, the chief guest and founder director of Vyaniti Yoga Studio, lit the traditional oil lamp marking the beginning of the Kathak recital followed by a Guru Vandana, which Jhumpa dedicated as a tribute to both her dance Gurus Late Pt Birju Maharaj ji and Late Munna Lal Shukla ji. Following the Guru Vandana the students of Leelangika presented tukras, parans, tihais and kavittas in Teental, Ektal and Pancham Sawari and Jhumpa performed Gat Nikas. A vision of Kathak in the Mughal court was presented through ‘Darbar-e-Kathak’, a spellbinding choreography by Jhumpa.
As the title indicated, the ballet ‘Abhivyakti, a palette of Rasas’ comprised the presentation of nine emotions through dance. The nine rasas are Raudra (anger); Karuna (pathos); Adbhuta (wonder); Hasya (humour); Bhayanaka (terror); Bhibatsa (disgust); Veera (valour); Shantha (peace); and Shringara (beauty). Directed by Guru Jhumpa, the students of Leelangika expressed each of the rasas beautifully through different mythological stories, leaving the audience spellbound.
The group of dancers of Leelangika comprised Arya, Vishwa, Aaheli, Ahana, Priyanjana, Anya Anoop, Kanyana, Rihanna, Bhavya, Suhana, Pehel, Diya, Juana, Jahnabi, Anoushka, Dishita, Bhoomi, Reina, Rupsa, Anya Sharma, Maheeka, Vyatiba, Aviva, Aditi, Shaivi, Manvi, Shrabosti, Zanam, Mahua, Dona, Subhasree, Dilna, Vandana, Anu, Sunita and Jhumpa.
While Rahul Kar did the narration for the ballet, Tapas Chakraborty proved his magical hands in professional lighting effects which further embellished the show and made it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch such a graceful performance on stage.