Our teaching is based on the belief that Kathak dance not only refines but also enlarges the natural human tendency to express feelings physically.
The combination of Vocal, Instrumental & dance go hand in hand & are complimentary to each other. They are like limbs of human body.
Kathak dance performance can be divided in two main parts i.e. Nrittang (Pure dance portion) & Abhinaya part (gesticulatory expressions).
Kathak dance requires systematic study & continuous practice in presence of GURU & alone with one self till perfection is achieved. This is developed in a process in which I recite the Kathak bols (Language of dance & drum) & I am accompanied by a tabla player & harmonium player who also sings nagma (a repetitive melodic phrase).This continuous dancing, drumming, reciting & singing generates a graceful & powerful energy source with its centre near the dancer. Each student learns following
Natya (drama): – Visual representation of meaning of words & sentences of a composition. It is combined manifestation of Bhava, Rasa & abhinaya.
Nritta (Pure dance & technique): – It reflects the mood, bhav & Rasa. Here movements & poses of body parts do not convey any meaning but serve to add grace & variety only. These include movement exercises, basic footwork tatkar, turns chakkar etc.
Nritya (dance with rhythm & expressions): – Nritya consists of footwork, gestures & abhinaya (expressions).
For a Kathak it is said that her body should catch up the tune, the hands must explain the meaning, and the eyes must speak the emotion & the feet must beat the time.
My teaching begins with tradition which is taught to me by my GURU. Students are taught to show respect to the class room, Devi Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge), Natraj (Originator & the symbol of classical Indian dance) & Guru before they are allowed in the class.
Following are the steps:
Step-1: – First of all a student is taught how to wear bells after getting them touch by the guru first in the right foot & than in the left foot.
Step-2: – Learning of Kathak begins with introduction of teen Tal. A detail description of matras, tali (clap) & khali (empty) is given with its four parts.
Step-3: – Practical knowledge in given with basic tabla (drum) bol (theka) is being played. It is followed by knowledge of foot work (tatkar) Salami, that, Amad, paran, tode, & tihais etc. based on this Tal.
At the same time a student is taught padant (recitation).
Step-4: – After knowledge of basics continuous practice is done with tabla (drum) is being played, reciting bols (language of Kathak dance & drum) & singing nagma.
Step-5: – At the same time theoretical knowledge is given for cue writing & reading.
In between various things are being taught i.e.mudras (gestures), abhinaya (expression of moods), facial expressions, and uses of limbs (main, minor & adjoining).
Similar sequence is being followed for other Tal also.
After sufficient knowledge & practice only, one student becomes capable to perform live on the stage & during this period he/she is taught stage manners & art of using stage effectively.
Shweta & her team teaches her students not only nuances of the art but also Indian culture & tradition so that every one is concern about their social responsibility with vision full of humanity.