What is pleasant about Kathak as an Indian dance art forms is not only its exhilarating stage presence via the blending of emoted storytelling with intricate dance technique but also its uncanny flexibility to adapt the ancient art form with contemporary and global dance styles, making it a formidable niche in the space of Indian dance. Such was the ambiance created by Cypress-based Shivam Arts School of Kathak dance that presented its adaptation of famed poet Kalidas’ Kumar Sambhav billed as Shiv Vivah (Wedding of Lord Shiva) in La Mirada Performing Arts Center.
Kumar’s keen interest in maintaining a diverse repertoire within such large productions is partly promoted through her realization that contemporary music and dance motifs excite both audiences and students thirsty for variety. Colorfully costumed dancers maintained the hallmarks of Kathak in pieces as they spun in fast turns with percussive footwork accented by the sounds of ankle bells against heart thumping musical compositions with Indian, Western Tribal influences.
Alhambra-based artist Clarita Corona joined Sonal, Ayushee, Hanah, and Asmita and the live musical ensemble to match steps, rhythms and cultures. The Kathak dancers responded and cajoled Corona in solo and unison with rapid barefoot stomping, mimicking the patterns and affirming the connection between the two styles. Read More…
Students of Punam Kumar mesmerized the audience with a fiery display of Kathak…creating a highly technical, colorful, flamboyant, and global atmosphere. The highlight of the evening was the dance drama, Mohini The Enchantress, a fabulous number relating the mythical events of the Legends from the Bhagvat Puran, The Churning of the Ocean. The mythological tale was skillfully executed and kept the audience involved in the drama till the end.
In the finale entitled “Tarana”, Kathak’s visual narratives mingled with the vocals and dynamic sounds of the Tabla engaged the rhythmic patterns of footwork, pirouettes and crisp stances in solo and synchronized forms by each of four dancers Ayushee Aithal, Sonal Kumar Turakhia , Hannah Latif and Asmita Jadhav.
The company highlighted an experimental fusion of uplifting, scintillating rhythms of the Spanish guitar to the intricate precision and artistic finesse of Kathak dance.
Traditional folk tunes and dances highlighted the vibrant collage of Kathak virtuosity, a Ghazal written by Naushad Ali, gave the dancers an opportunity to perform Abhinay, revealing with great intensity and feeling the inner conflict and bewilderment of the mystery of universe. The program concluded with a brilliant Tarana, performed by daughter Sonal Kumar. She entranced the audience with her delicate winsomeness, extensive chakras, foot work and captivating presence.
Your excellent presentation helped us gain tremendous insight into the mystical world of Indian Dance. The presentation was so successful that I hope you will be able to come back to our class every year to educate us on Indian Dances.
Punam Kumar, the director of Shivam Arts Dance, and her troupe, supported by some of the outstanding musicians in the area presented a Kathak Dance recital June 10 in Cypress college theater that will, for some time, be talked about in and around southern California for excellence, mastery of execution, and above all befitting choreography that graphically brought about the sensuous nuances of Vrindavan Raas.
I sat there, enthralled as I observed a young Indian woman, Punam Kumar, dance marvelously. I was deeply touched by what I saw and heard that evening. I felt her dancing was almost hypnotic in its beauty—cathartic in its effect.