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The graceful moves

September 11, 2018
By Mubashir Ahmed

Kathak is one of the eight major forms of Indian classical dance. The origin of Kathak is traditionally attributed....

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Kathak is one of the eight major forms of Indian classical dance. The origin of Kathak is traditionally attributed to the travelling bards of ancient northern India known as Kathakars or storytellers. The term ‘Kathak’ is derived from the Vedic Sanskrit word ‘Katha’ which means ‘story’, and Kathaka which means ‘the one who tells a story’, or ‘to do with stories’. Wandering Kathakars communicated stories from the great epics and ancient mythology through dance, songs and music in a manner similar to early Greek theatre. Kathak dancers tell various stories through their hand movements and footwork, but most importantly through their facial expressions. Kathak evolved during the Bhakti movement, particularly by incorporating the childhood and stories of the Hindu god Krishna, as well as independently in the courts of north Indian kingdoms.

In order to pay homage to this age-old dance form, Alaina Roy, a 19-year-old Kathak dancer, performed elegantly at the T2F cafe recently in Karachi, leaving the audience in awe. Kathak - ‘Kal Se Aaj Tak’ - the timeless story of life, was a unique dance and music performance, as Alaina demonstrated the evolution of Kathak through the ages from its classical Nritta enactment to its more expressional and contemporary Nritya aspect. Her performance was complemented by tabla player Yousuf Kerai and the harmonium artist Salman Wazir. Two guest singers, Arieb Azhar and Ifti, also joined in the show.

Alaina Roy is a professionally trained classical Kathak dancer, trained under the artistic guidance of Guru Pali Chandra and Nitesh Saraswat in Dubai for over 10 years. She began teaching in Pakistan in 2016 and has been trained in the ISTD syllabus and by a variety of gurus in Lucknow and Dubai. She has performed at events and festivals across the United Arab Emirates, and in London where she has auditioned for the Royal Albert Hall and performed at the O2 Arena. With over 10 years of experience, at her core, Alaina is motivated by a mission to create a better world through her prized art form: dance.

Roy has performed at events and festivals across the United Arab Emirates and London. She has received several awards including ‘Imperial Teaching Society for Dancers’ certifications and was a semi finalist at the ‘Kalashram Competition’, London (by Pandit Birju Maharaj). She has been part of the Hum TV drama ‘Kitni Girhain Baaqi Hai’ title score, as well.

The event was attended by Ayesha Omar, Angeline Malik, Mrs. Shamim Hilaly, Frieha Altaf, Arjumand Rahim, Mulghalar, Nazia Ijaz, Fariha Ali Azmat, Mani Chao, Wahab Shah and Raja Mughal from the dance industry, amongst others.

- Mubashir Ahmed