Pandit Birju Maharaj in Kolkata
Kathak dance has a long-standing tradition of innovation and assimilation. To keep up with the modern taste various experimentations are found in Kathak dance. Tagore, southern dance traditions, foreign flavor -every possible collaboration is being tried. Birju Maharaj, famed Kathak dancer has tried it all. But he has stayed true to essence of Kathak in his every piece. In his recent visit to Kolkata; he asserts that deviation from essence of Kathak dance only happens in the hands of people who fail to grasp the essence of Kathak. The Kathak dance exponent flew to Kolkata recently for a 5-day workshop by Padatik dance centre as the master trainee.
Senility has failed to touch this septuagenarian. This 72-year-old still zooms across different parts of India teaching Kathak. He says that it has become vital to keep the tradition of Kathak alive, to hand over the baton to younger generations. He is worried about the fact that now-a-days people have been tampering classical dance for their selfish aspirations. Weird costumes, garish interpretations are becoming toast of media. People dancing for the sake of glamour should be shunned. Distorted classical dance is not only repugnant but also suggestive and sends a wrong message to people. He wants an immediate stop of this trend.
He asserts classical dance is indeed classical and has an eternal appeal, the more you delve in it, and the more you get hooked. With a heart of lion, Birju Maharaj travels cross the globe championing Kathak dance. His lifelong aim to protect the purity of classical dance from modern marauders doesn’t let him rest.
Article: Sujit Sengupta, English version by Kush