Dance

Embracing change

Anindita Neogy Anaam

Anindita Neogy Anaam  

Anindita Neogy Anaam follows a ballet approach to Kathak

Dance is ephemeral in nature, but so powerful that it has stayed with us for centuries. It has evolved, accommodated and adjusted with societies, and perhaps, an artiste is best understood when he/she best understand the sensibilities of society. Anindita Neogy Anaam began her training in Kathak at a young age. Trained under Pandit Rajendra Gangani and Pandit Jaikishan Maharaj, Anindita acquainted herself with both Jaipur and Lucknow gharanas of the art-form. Maharaj changed the direction of dance itself for Anindita, introducing a ballet approach to Kathak. Her life later took her to the far corners of the world, where she was met with the crisis of an artiste, of sustenance. Currently settled in Wisconsin, US, Anindita’s style evolved with her, refusing to shy away from the communities she lived with.

Says Anindita, “When I first got to Wisconsin, people often confused Kathak with Bollywood. They would put everything under the banner of Indian dance. It is because they don't have enough literature that they are acquainted with. It took me a lot of time to make them understand the beats, rhythm and tempo and how it is very similar to ballet and not Bollywood.” When she began, the state was extremely new to a dance-form like Kathak. She adds, “They had no idea about it. I began making changes to my choreography. I went to the local ballet schools and had glimpse of what they like and don't like. When I showed the Radha-Krishna compositions, or bhajans, they did not like it mostly because they could not understand it. How do you relate to these mythological figures you have never heard of? I began looking at fusion music, which really blended with Kathak. The lyrics were the basic problem so why not take them off?”

She says that an artiste has to adapt to the audience and community she/he performing for. “In the US, if one wishes to work, one cannot keep going to mythology all the time. That is sort of a safe-zone. I began experimenting with issues like depression, LGBTQ, trafficking, etc without compromising on the authenticity of the dance form, along with some collaborations. We need to come up with new ideas,” she says.

For the past few years, Anindita has experimented with compositions of Bickram Ghosh, Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones to name a few. Her style is a unique blend of both the gharanas which focuses more on rhythm and the joy of dancing. At her recent performance at the Delhi International Arts Festival, Anindita chose to divide her performance into three sections. The first part was Lasya, a composition by Anoushka Shankar, where Anindita depicted a free woman who is out there in a rhythmic rendezvous with nature, dancing to its tunes. The second part was a Durga bhajan composed in Teentaal by Pandit Rajendra Gangani. The third part was a pure dance item, also composed by Gangani, showcasing ladis, thaats, uthan, aamad toda, tukda, kavitt and fast spins. The entire presentation was based in raga Chaarukeshi.

The joy Anindita wished to portray was evident in her choreographies. Owing to the cement stage, the footwork could not attain clarity to its full potential. Even though her abhinaya was just enough, one sees the potential for it to be much more nuanced. To her credit, in Lasya, the music she chose was rather tough to render to and one must appreciate that effort to attempt something of that scale.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 10:12:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/embracing-change/article25734498.ece

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