Rajendra Gangani gives a blissful performance of Kathak in Sydney

By Neena Badhwar

Guru Rajendra Gangani mesmerises Sydney with his performance of Kathak. He is an exponent of Kathak who exudes joy rather pure bliss as he said on stage, “I want you to enjoy ”˜anand’. Pure anand.”

Gangani performs as if he is enjoying his art himself, lost in himself he brings forth sheer pleasure in the audience that watches in awe his movements, his footwork, the twirls and the turns and the expressions thus produced to invoke Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna Rasa and the bhava thus expressed.

Gangani is a kathakar par excellence. One does not need to comprehend that it is Lord Krishna stealing ”˜butter’ or mother Yashodha tying him up to punish him. The movements, the expressions, the dance ”˜tells it all’.

He not only dances, his energetic performance is followed up with little breaks when he comes to the mike and explains the intricacies of Kathak ”“ various movements ”“ the uthaan, the kasak-masak, the chhoot, which are followed by demonstration by him as he engages the audience thus transporting them to a heightened sensory   and visual experience created by the delightful Kathak dancer. Guru Gangani is a master of abhinaya, and footwork as our eyes are glued to see him dance, his ghungroos produce the sounds first slow, then fast, then faster creating   a frenzy of sorts.

A disciple of Kundanlal Gangani, Rajendra hails from Jaipur Gharana which was developed under the aegis of Rajput rulers who preferred enaction of Hindu mythological and religious themes. Jaipur style stresses on dance and footwork of which Gangani is an expert when the program that had to end early, he at the insistence of his tabla master Yogesh Gangani, Rajendra does a 31-parikrama dance, continuously twirling, yes thirty one times in a matter of a minute. The hall is clapping hard but he is unstoppable. He goes on to perform a dance of a moving train, says he that it is the Sydney train. His footwork and the ghungroos copy a train, the audience gives this great dancer a standing applause, of course!

Sumati Nagpal’s Swastik students started the evening from the cute little ones, in rows of three, dressed in Kathak lehnga-cholis, in reds, greens, white, silver and gold, they dazzle all with their dance steps, holding little hands, at times up, other times with their expressions, bhavas and of course the footwork, as they perform all in unison. Sumati Nagpal, their teacher, has chosen classical numbers from Hindi cinema for the students. The backdrop of a screen with showers of rose petals, the kids just look adorable. They have mastered their Kathak in a few days having attended Guru Rajendra Gangani’s workshop that ran for six days prior to the concert. The dances come one after the other from the very young to the intermediate to senior students who steal the show with ”˜Sanson ki mala’ and dhamaal with ”˜Shri Krishna Govind Hare Murari Hey Nath Narayan Vasudeva’. What a pride to watch this group of young girls and just the two boys who have taken Kathak up and followed it up with full heart, soul and years of practice.

Accompanying the dancers on stage are live musicians ”“ Yogesh Gangani  on tabla, Vinod Gangani on harmonium   and  Sydney-based Maharshi on tabla and Rashpaal on sitar as the live musician ensemble.

Sumati comes on stage to thank everyone and implores the importance to promote and support the pure form of Kathak in Australia. She is a spirited young lady and a mother who has worked hard to achieve just that. The night’s Kathak performance is the proof!

Photos courtesy: (1-Click Photograph by Neha Arora 0451 140 832)

Short URL: https://indiandownunder.com.au/?p=10080