Saturday, June 22, 2024

A blend of East and West

Isabelle Anna performs Kathak at port city
Accomplished French dancer Isabelle Anna captivated the port city audience at a Kathak dance recital that was held at the auditorium of Alliance Française de Chittagong on May 9.
Alliance Française de Chittagong arranged the programme. Dr Samuel Berthet, Director of Alliance Française de Chittagong, inaugurated the programme.
Isabelle Anna started off her performance with a “Shahi Mehfil” choreography by Pt Jaikishan Maharaj. The performance was set on teen tal. A performance, to a thumri, composed by Bindadin Maharaj was next. Anna beautifully enacted a young maiden being teased by Krishna, who keeps tugging at her sari, pursuing her, and stealing her pitcher.
Anna danced to a ghazal, titled “Bade Nada” that was composed by Pt. Arjun Mishra.
The artiste presented a vibrant piece of dance with a “Sargam”. Choreographed by Pt. Arjun Mishra, the piece was set on an 11-beat tal called “Ashtamangal”.
In the second session Anna presented her experimental works based on Kathak blended with western music. With the tune of “My Bolero”, a version for 2 pianos by Labeque sisters, Isabelle presented an outstanding performance. The artiste wrapped up her performance with “Habanera”, a composition from the “Carmen Opera”, and music by George Bizet.
Born in a rich cultural environment, Isabelle Anna commenced her training in Bharatanatyam at the age of five. Subsequently, in 1998, she was initiated to kathak dance by Sharmila Sharma, disciple of the legendary Indian kathak dance exponent, Pandit Birju Maharaj, at centre ‘Mandapa’ in Paris.
As an Indo-French Government Scholar (2001-2003) and an ICCR Scholar (2003-2005), Anna joined Kathak Kendra, New Delhi, and trained under Pandit Jai Kishan Maharaj, son of Pandit Birju Maharaj, and passed with Honours in Classical Dance in 2004, and completed her post-graduate in 2006. During this period, she also trained in tabla, yoga and Hindustani classical vocal music. Subsequently, being a scholar of the French Ministry of Culture for Choreographic Studies, she undertook intensive research and formulated choreographies using kathak as a medium of expression with Western music, demonstrating the links between the western and eastern cultures. Her dance recitals include both the traditional aspects of the Lucknow Gharana and her experimental work based on kathak.

-With The Daily Star input

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