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February 16, 2014

Nighat Chaudhry mesmerises audience at Kuch Khaas

February 16, 2014

As part of the global ‘One Billion Rising for Justice’ (OBR) campaign 2014, AMAL Human Development Network is a non-profit organisation, organised an exciting event, ‘Celebration of Life,’ at the centre for art, culture and dialogue, Kuch Khaas (KK) featuring Nighat Chaudhry and her team with a special appearance by dancer/choreographer Wahab Shah from Lahore.
AMAL Human Development Network is a non-profit organisation founded in 1994 and based in Islamabad, Pakistan. ‘AMAL’ - which means ‘action’ in Urdu - is working in education, gender and reproductive health awareness and capacity building of NGO’s and individuals.
The venue saw a ‘full house’ audience of members of participating networks; organisations; activists and other interested persons gathering to revel in the success of the OBR campaign, which called for women to break the silence and release their stories — politically; spiritually; outrageously — through art; dance; marches; ritual; song; spoken word; testimonials and whatever way felt right.
The programme began with a warm welcome from programme coordinator KK, Tulin Khalid Azim who said she and her team had been proud to be partners with AMAL for the campaign. She was followed by Nighat Rizvi of AMAL who thanked everyone for being there; appreciated the work done by different organizations to create awareness by organizing different events throughout the year in and around schools of KP; Fata and Punjab and concluded by thanking the KK team for their collaboration for the events that took place there. “Valentine’s Day is the right time for such an event,” she said “After all what is life about if not love, sharing, happiness and peace?”
The dance presentation was something very different, interesting and thought provoking than the usual performance. While a narration of what women have endured through the ages was heard in the background with a unique soundtrack of music, poetry and

prose, Nighat and her troupe expressed the repression in dance. Shrouded in black, they demonstrated the dark side of a woman’s life until she is freed and rises with courage and determination to get justice. The ‘awakening’ was choreographed beautifully as Islamabad’s very own artist, Humaira Ghaznavi painted on stage in solid colours — water (sky?); a flower; a face; a butterfly and last but not least, the sacred symbol of the golden mean around which the world revolves. As each black robe was removed and the symbolic painting completed, the dancer expressed her joy in life through classic or modern dance, then stood statue like near it until Wahab appeared onstage. He acted as the catalyst of change and support and the concluding part of the performance showed the dancers as a group ready to face the world and fight for their rights.
The performers were Nighat Chaudhry — ever since she has relocated to the capital we are lucky to see her perform more often — Wahab and his colleague Uzma Ali; Islamabad’s very own nightingale, Natasha Humera Ejaz whose dancing prowess has been a hidden secret, at least to me and Sara Malik, all of whom were graceful and danced so well, making it an unforgettable show. In the end there were many acknowledgements and appreciation of the efforts of those who were involved in making the event a success. We were informed that there would be live streaming of the programme around the world and if that was the case then we can be proud that it was one that showcased the positive side of the country in such an artistic and beautiful manner.

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