FRIDAY REVIEW

Steps of togetherness

NEW FLASHES Their creativity lies well within the traditional orb

NEW FLASHES Their creativity lies well within the traditional orb  

KUMUDHA CHANDRASEKARAN

Hari and Chetana, the Kathak duo, strike an aesthetic harmony



“What you think you become,” said Mohandas Gandhi. During a conversation with Hari and Chetana, the line came back to me. The talented young couple, were initiated to Kathak by Geethanjali Lal, grounded by Bharathi Vittal and Vaibhavi Joshipura, and finally sculpted by Kumudhini Lakhia; the duo consider their gurus as the most generous blessing of their lives.

Their school, Noopur Performing Art Centre, was established in 1996. They have performed at several prestigious festivals of the country including the Hampi Utsav, Bellary, Karavali Utsav, Mangalore, the Taj Mahotsav, Agra and Mudra Festival, Trivandrum, among others. Empanelled by the ICCR and auditioned artists of Bangalore Doordarshan, they have travelled around the globe and have won critical acclaim.

How do they explain their style? “Take a cup of coffee for instance. An enjoyable flavour results when the ingredients – the coffee beans, sugar and milk which are essentially pure are blended in the right proportions. So too is choreography, where the improvisation from the basics should happen in right proportions”, says Hari, a graduate of Kathak and Choreography.

Creative wave

Their style is an eloquent testimony to his statement,. They also acknowledge Usha Venkateswaran, Director of NatyaLakshana, Bangalore, who is one of their most dependable supports in conceptualising their ideas. In their recent performance in the Samskruti Festival, they showcased “Shivanjali”, a very appreciable fresh wave of creativity but well within the traditional orb, with the basic syntax intact. Their performances are such a seamless synchronisation that it’s often difficult to decide if they are dancing in concurrence or in contrast to each other. Their growth as dancers did see a paradigm shift. “H.H. Swami Shanthanand Saraswathi, the founder of The Temple of Fine Arts (TFA), an international fine arts institution is the person responsible for it. His ideology about fine arts, changed our fundamental reasons behind being dancers,” says Chethana. Partners on and off stage, they complement each other in every aspect. Dance has given them more than a profession. Both have a distinct role to play. While Hari conceptualises and choreographs, Chethna adds colour, beauty and life to the dance.

Despite dancing together for years, they manage to keep routine and boredom at bay. Dancing is used by them as an opportunity to experience and learn more about each other with everyday. Very often, the experiences in the journey are more precious than the destination itself. “We never had a plan on paper. We got the right support, motivation and well wishers when we needed them. It was just a learning ladder that we climbed, rather still climbing. We firmly believe that the surest and safest path is to go by the bigger plan around us,” agree the duo.



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