Sarika And Arthi Mesmerize The Audience At Their Nrityangam

By Acharya S.P.Dwivedi

The Nrityangam, to Sarika Verma and Arthi Arora, was an official graduation ceremony to their Kathak Dance tradition.  They reached to this stage after  completing more than a  decade of hard training and learning under the well known Guru- Madhu Khare. Madhu is a hard core professional, and arranges this celebration-Nrityangam  only when she  is fully convinced  with student’s experience,expertise  and excellence in Kathak dance form; and both  students succeeded in obtaining her blessings on July 29, 2017 at Surrey Arts Center in Surrey. Madhu  is credited with founding the Nritya Manjaree School of Kathak in the year 1978 and since then  religiously  continued promoting and popularizing it through teaching,offering workshops and organizing programs  in Canada.

Kathak is one of the major classical  dances of India which is now  enjoying the global popularity.The word Kathak has its roots in Sanskrit word-Katha (Story) and who narrates is called Kathakaar(Story teller). The history of its origin goes back to 2000 years. Traditionally, it is related with the traveling bards of Northern India who used epics and other mythical stories for narration and later on a dance component was added to it.The temple style defined the mythological and spiritual importance. There was enormous impact of Bhakti (devotional) movement on Kathak.The poetic composition of writers were applied for dance exposition and the love lore  of Radha-Krishna dominated the story.

Earlier, spirituality and culture  were ingrained in it that continued till 15th century AD. But during Mughal period,with rise of  Muslim State  and patronage of kings,  Kathak dance was given an erotic-entertainment color and popularized  as a court-dance.Kings with their specific taste developed different style that led to Gharanaas  or schools of dance;  and Lucknow, Jaipur and Banaras emerged as prestigious  Gharanaas. Now there is amalgamation  of  devotional, spiritual and romantic styles and Kathak has  revived its respect.

Traditionally, the classical Kathak dance is accompanied with Hindustani classical music. The mime,gesture, abhinay, natya elements, footwork, neck  and eyebrows movement and rasa (emotions) displayed in dance with subtlety and grace makes Kathak most dynamic one.  Also, the style of Kathak is characterized by features like its jumps and spins. These are  called the utplavnas and bhramris in the Natyashastras.

Anu Sharma and Tricia Ramparsad were  quite articulate and  impressive  as MC in their  introduction of the dancers and the dance. The program started with invocational prayer of Lord Ganesha followed by Thumri.The magical smile and graceful movements of Sarika and Arthi  captivated the audience all along. It was a gentle beginning. They presented other items  such as Aakaar (pure dance)Tarana, Holi, Jhaptaal and  ended with fast form-Dhamaar. Their colorful costume,intricate footwork, sharp and accurate spins(chakkar) and flawless movements won the admiration of all and  that  was well  reflected in  the thundering sound of clapping.The Guru-Madhu Khare, at the end,  declared the successful completion  of their  training and bestowed upon Sarika Verma  and Arthi Arora the title-Nritya Manjaree.

The  credit for their success goes to the parents of Sarika-Sangita and Shiv Verma and Arthi’s parents -Sarabjit and Girish Arora for their constant encouragement and persuasion.

Sarika and Arthi  have  brilliant academic career also, apart from the passion for Kathak, and now they  are going to pursue  their studies in UBC.The program was concluded with sumptuous dinner which was enjoyed by the guests.



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