Classical dance, behind all its apparent complexities, is concerned with simple and enduring themes, speaking directly to the heart.
With the sweep of an arm, the glance of an eye or even a simple stance, the Kathak dancer reveals skies heavy with rains, verdant landscapes, roaming young lovers or a deity blessing a scene with his smiling presence. Accompanied by the soft wind of melodious voices and the steady pattern of drums, the dancer's hands flicker with gentle sensuousness. A shy young girl in love, the gliding motion of a swan, a naughty child, all bathed in erotic innocence, these are the precious images of Kathak infinite in variety but each glowing softly in the same light. For centuries creators have with quiet humility, 'innovated'constantly revitalizing tradition's streams. One can wonder at how tradition came into being, but what is more marvellous is its continual freshness, its essence intensified when inhaled with a clear and open mind.
Director, Performing Arts, Ashoka University
Vaswati Misra, the Founder and Director of Ekalavya World of Arts (EWA) is a renowned Kathak exponent. Being the daughter-in-law of Pt. Shambhu Maharaj ji, she has dedicated her life to the preservation and promotion of Indian classical Dance and Music forms. Her stint as teacher and choreographer began when she joined Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra as a teacher when she was 19. She has been a Kathak Guru at Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra and also Kathak Kendra, New Delhi.
A firm believer in the power of Performing Arts and that every child and adult should have access to an authentic world-class training program, Vaswati Misra has reached out to all sections of society. For the past 40 years she has been training and grooming young children and adults on learning Kathak., Hundreds of her students have established themselves in the domain and have become young ambassadors of the Dance form, nationally and internationally.
As the Founder, Chairperson and Artistic director of Ekalavya World of Arts and Dhwani (an NGO that runs the academy), she has created a tremendous body of work in collaboration with some of the most outstanding musicians and writers of the times. Some of her famous productions are- 'Arpan' based on the works of Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan performed with Amitabh Bachchan, 'Pinocchio' penned by Gulzar with music by Zakir Hussain and 'Rasaarchana' with music by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan.
Of the many classical dance styles that are part of India's artistic heritage, Kathak is the dance tradition from North Central India, a region that incorporates Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Kathak is an incredibly beautiful synthesis of both the Hindu and Muslim artistic traditions and in that respect is unique among the other classical dances of India. Among the many features that set it apart are its upright stance, swift pirouettes and intricate footwork. Its approach towards the use of hand gestures and facial expressions is relatively natural. Conceived as a chamber art form for a solo dancer, the dance form lends itself equally to group choreography. The genre of music used in Kathak belongs to the Hindustani classical tradition and songs are mostly rendered in Hindi, Braj and sometimes in Urdu and Sanskrit.
You can visualize your performance as the course progresses
Student performing after completing 3 years of training
Student performing after completing 5 years of training
Glimpses of choreographies by Vaswati Misra