Tuesday, July 24

Sufi Kathak Click for more info

I spent an hour or so watching Manjari Chaturvedi perform what she calls "Sufi Kathak", which is similar to the traditional Indian dance, but whose aim is to express the possibly more esoteric concept of Sufi Fana or oneness with God.

She did her set of three dances at the Nehru Centre (where I've not been since my last experience of kathak) and although all were brilliant and impressive, the first two seemed pretty traditional despite their unusual qawwali backing.

The third, however, was very different. The main thing was the music that was being danced to - distinctly Persian in origin it brought a new character to Manjari's performance. It was a kind of classical fusion of sorts and was really wonderful to watch.

Another interesting aspect, of course, was the fusing of Sufi and Hindu ideas in this artform. This was, in fact, the theme for the evening - The Nehru Centre was celebrating Indian Secularism which they had interpreted to mean an inclusiveness or normalisation of religion rather than the separation (or marginalisation) of it.

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