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Belgium discovers Kathak with Shila!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
By Vijay Shanker

The Belgium Consulate General of Mumbai and Nupur Zankar Academy of Performing Arts and Research Centre (Kandivali) presented a unique programme of Kathak - Kathak Sameeksha - by renowned Kathak danseuse Shila Mehta and her Belgium-based student Aarcia Ponnet at Alliance Francaise De Bombay at their auditorium at New Marine Lines, Churchgate.

Nupur Zankar Academy of Performing Arts is headed by Kathak exponent Shila Mehta and has branches in New Jersey (USA), Ghent (Belgium) and Swinden (UK). Belgium-based Kathak dancer is an ICCR scholar and has been learning Kathak from Mehta.

Shila Mehta commenced the programme with a thought-provoking and insightful lecture on the philosophy of dance entitled 'Movement to Consciousness' wherein she vividly narrated as to how classical dance forms a fine combination of the mind, body and spirit, leading the dancer and the audience to divine or eternal bliss.

Belgium-based Kathak dancer Aarcia Ponnet who has been learning Kathak from Shila Mehta demonstrated varied facets of Kathak pertaining to the technique, footwork and expressional dancing. Aarcia commenced with the invocatory Shiva Stuti followed by an intricate Tarana in Raag Kalavati. She also performed footwork in Teen Taal Drut Laya with the precision that reflected her devotion to this divine art form of India. Aarcia was supported on the Tabla by Amjad Khan and vocal by Somnath Mishra.

The performance was attended by ICCR official Ms. Renu P, Consulate of Belgium Mr. Peter and the chief guest Bharata Natyam exponent Lata Surendra who said, "You echoed the ultimate experience of the dancer transforming delineation in a sublime gathering of providence in absolute oneness. Your charisma, your religion that is Kathak, your experiencing of it through the journey of life, every moment touched my soul."

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