|Classical To Sufi Kathak
Kathak is a glorious legacy of Avadhi culture representing the rich heritage of poetry, literature,
mythology, philosophy and emotional thoughts.
Kathak is unique as it blends two distinctive styles
– the devotional Temple Kathak and the exotic Darbari Kathak.
Initiated and nurtured in the temples Kathak evolved as story telling form used as a medium
for communication with the Almighty. Muslim cultural ethos transformed Kathak with elaborate costumes
and Persian influences into a medium for entertainment.
The Lucknow school of Kathak is famous for its delicate nuances of expressiveness with
alluring grace in movements and unique expressions to the accompaniment of lilting
poetry sung as thumri, ghazal and holi.
The Indian concept of Nirvana is similar to the
Sufi thought of Fana and the concept of merging of individual souls with the universal soul is
common amongst both the Hindu mystics and the Sufi's.
Raas Lila tradition of Kathak is based on the divine love of Radha and Lord Krishna, which
symbolizes the torment of separation and ecstasy of union of Man from God.
Manjari incorporates the mystique of Sufism through the dance of the moving meditation.
'In Sufi Kathak, the concept of the beauty of the image-less Beloved becomes the guiding
factor for me. The image becomes the act itself, the creative form. The state of love finds an image in
the Beloved...the image acquires dimension...dimensions acquire reality. Human body outlives its
form and the surrender becomes dance.'
Sufi Kathak draws inspiration from sensitive
expressions of the poetry by Sufi saints of the subcontinent. These expressions have their own
maze of thoughts and interpretation of music, poetry and surrender which are portrayed by Manjari
through her dance.
'My dance form spans from earthly romance of Hindi folk to the evolved
Sufi imagery of love in Persian poetry depicting a beloved in flesh and blood to the abstract
presence of the Almighty, from a form to formlessness.'
The Sufi spiritual thoughts universalize the beloved into the creator- the eternal lover, breaking
manmade boundaries of caste, religion and nation through poetry, music and dance, creating a
Sufi Kathak brings out the nuances of Sufi music through the
language of the body in order to enthrall the audience into Sufi ambiance. The dance gradually
becomes ecstatic...the synchronization of movements with music...the beats are joined with
clapping of hands...in praise of the Beauty of the Soul ...the form. Making it the dance of the
soul...of the one enflamed with love and longing, enamored with the desire to approach the God
and be consumed in His Glory...one who lost herself in union with Him...
'I dance in surrender
to Him, to His Glory, to His Love, to His World
with a lilting
melody and a strong rhythm...
a dance of separation and union...of hope...
a pattern of
light and shade...
the fire of the eternal dance of moth.'