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Tributes to the mentor

Thursday, June 21, 2018
By Vijay Shanker

The Kalapi Centre of Performing Arts presented 'Abhaar' – a unique program of music and dance, as a mark of tribute to veteran mentor Reba Vidyarthi.
The accomplished artists who performed on this occasion were Keka Sinha, Dhanashree Pandit Rai and Sanchita Bhattacharya. The program was held at Veer Savarkar Auditorium.

Veteran Kathak mentor Guru Reba Vidyarthi was among the foremost teachers at Kathak Kendra. Within the span of thirty-five years, Reba trained several aspirants; many of them are professionals today. On this occasion, a twelve-minute-long film on her life was screened, which included the comments of Pt Bhirju Maharaj, Shaswati Sen, Keka Sinha and others. Reba was also bestowed with the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi award for her invaluable and outstanding contribution in the field of classical dance.

Besides the exquisite exposition of the Odissi dance style 'Nari Narayani' by Sanchita Bhattacharya from Kolkatta, the highlight presentation of the evening was 'Naihar Chhuto Jaye' – a Kathak Thumri milap featuring Kathak by Keka Sinha and Thumri rendering by Dhanashree Pandit Rai. The presentation begins with the picturisation of the court of Wajid Ali Shah during the 18th century – the twilight of Mughal rule in India – wherein their obsessive fondness for fun and frolic, brings the forms of Thumri and Kathak together, with the dancer and singer portraying varied moods and the dance of joy, executed with grace and style by the dancer Keka Sinha. Both Dhanashree and Keka have performed on several occasions, hence forming a great team of harmony, synchronization and music that enhances the aesthetic quality of both music and dance.

The special guests of the evening included Sanjeev S. Palande, director of PL Deshpande Maharashtra Kala Academy, actress Gracy Singh, veteran Kathak mentors Guru Ganesh Hiralal and Padma Sharma, actors Asish Vidyarthi and Rajashree. On the whole a fine tribute of music and dance for a great mentor.

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