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Updated: February 12, 2013 10:40 IST

Fun-filled learning of artistic footwork

Amutha Kannan
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Pandit Chitresh Das and Jason Samuels Smith at the dance workshop. Photo: K. Ananthan
Pandit Chitresh Das and Jason Samuels Smith at the dance workshop. Photo: K. Ananthan

After individual sessions, Kathak dancer and tap dancer performed together

Fun and learning blended just as two dance forms did when Kathak exponent Pandit Chitresh Das and tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith taught these to the students at a session at Dr. G.R. D. College of Science in the city on Monday.

When they teamed up to teach the basics of Kathak and tap dance, boys and girls alike grabbed the opportunity to learn. They were not for a minute made to realise that the two dance forms were apart as both the masters made the class come alive with their effortless blending of both forms.

The exponents of these forms of dance are in town to perform the ‘Fastest Feet in Rhythm’ on Tuesday, a performance organised by the U.S. Consulate General , Chennai, in collaboration with Kirtilal Kalidas Jewellers and Dr. Damodaran College of Science.

A two-hour power-packed session at the college saw Mr. Smith begin with the basics as he tap-danced on the board with his metal shoes. After a tapping session, it was time to move on to Kathak. Pandit Das taught the students the steps as he simultaneously produced the beats on his ‘tabla’. He started with ‘Pranaam’ and went on to teach the fundamental steps to some who were trained in Classical dance forms and others who were not.

He explained the history of each step and also the benefits that it would bring the dancer. He kept them on their toes, egging them on by reminding them their age and comparing it with his own 68 years.

They also danced to the ‘tabla’ beats of Raghupathy Raghava Rajaram. He made them recite the beat as they danced.

After the individual sessions, the Kathak dancer and the 37-year-old tap dancer performed together to the same beat, each in his own style.

After the joint demonstration, they took questions. While Pandit Das answered about right eating and fitness, Mr. Smith answered those relating to the structure of tap dance, the difference between Irish and other forms, whether it had a story line, etc. Both of them tried to impress upon the students that age could not stop anyone from performing.

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