Baithak on 16 April wows audiences, brings kathak within reach

The sweltering heat of a particularly warm mid-April afternoon was no deterrent to the enthusiasm of Guru Jayashree Acharya’s students as they flitted about in excitement. As guests trickled in, senior students worked to get their guru behen Mahika Zutshi ready for her manch pravesh. Someone adjusted her dupatta, another one fixed her maang teeka and ensured the last strands of straying hair went into place.

The evening began with the younger ones, all dressed in pristine white, presenting small pieces, an evocation to the Gods, a short tarana, some technical rhythms. And then, Mahika enchanted the audience with her strong technical skills and a sincere attempt at abhinaya in the popular and beloved thumri, ‘Meri Suno Shyam’. With her guru and guru behen Mahika Nair on padhant, Shiv Shankar Ray on tabla, Pratip Banerjee on vocals and harmonium and Chandrachur Bhattacharya on sitar, Mahika was able to confidently demonstrate the nuances and intricacies of her art form. Her presentation of the complex 14-beat dhamaar was particularly appreciated.

IMG_9073 IMG_9074IMG_9081Our guest artist Ritesh Sharma represents the rarely experiences Raigarh gharana of kathak. He presented unusual lyrical and technical compositions, offering a historic background to the development of the gharana and its unusual emphasis on poetry. Riteshji teaches dance in Bhagalpur and is passionate about reviving the classical arts in small town India, among young girls and boys. Riteshji was accompanied on tabla by Utpal Ghosh, with vocals support from Pratipji, sitar accompaniment by Chandarchurji and padhant by Jayashreeji.

IMG_9076 IMG_9077The evening was graced by none other than Shri Krishna Mohan Mishraji, a renowned kathak artist and guru, who encouraged the young dancers and also their parents to remain patient in the acquisition of knowledge and skills within the classical arts.

IMG_9078 IMG_9080 Rasik Performing Arts is gratified to have successfully brought another evening of kathak to art lovers in Gurgaon in the intimate baithak format that facilitate deeper appreciation and learning of the art form’s history and practice. We are blessed to have the patronage of senior artists and gurus in all our endeavours.

Read media coverage on the baithak here.

Photo credits: Anandi Ray, Shruti Dewan

Prayas 2016 a resounding success

Coinciding with Republic Day, one of India’s three national holidays and one dedicated to celebrating our democratic Constitution, the talented dancers of Rasik Performing Arts presented its annual show in Epicentre, Gurgaon. For our dancers, Prayas 2016 was a culmination of a year’s learning under the gracious guidance of Guru Jayashree Acharya.

The blessed presence of Pandit Birju Mahahrajji at our show filled the atmosphere with a special electric charge. We all felt it and we hope our performances did justice to his great art and all-encompassing love and mentorship. Over 85 young dancers performed under Rasik’s banner during the evening, bringing a variety of items to a packed hall of rasiks and well wishers.

We were also honoured to have guests artists, dancers from Aakriti Foundation trained under Smt Sushmita Ghosh and eminent instrumental musicians Madhu Gopal, Goutam, Sunnu and Shiv Shankar perform at Prayas 2016.

Catch a few glimpses from Prayas 2016 below. We will post videos soon!

Pt. Birju Maharajji inaugurating Prayas 2016 and blessing all of us present Photo credit: Prasad Siddhanti

Pt. Birju Maharajji inaugurating Prayas 2016 and blessing all of us present
Photo credit: Prasad Siddhanthi

Our youngest dancers presenting Guru Vandana Photo credit: Prasad Siddhanthi

Our youngest dancers- Aparna, Bhuvi, Samaira, Shambhavi, Yavi, Meher, Yuvika, Raima, Pari and Panchhi- presenting ‘Guru Vandana’, an invocation to Goddess Saraswati
Photo credit: Prasad Siddhanthi

Photo credit: Prasad Siddhanthi

‘Akaash’ by Mahi, Sneha, Ishita, Vrinda, Krisha, Anvi, Saraa, Suhani, Varaa, Eesha, Samaira, Shriya, Stuti, Manya, Lavanya, Kimaya, Ishita, Navya, Ashi, Adya, and Tishya Photo credit: Prasad Siddhanthi

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Shuddha Nirtya in Jhaptaal by Anuradha, Anya, Arshiya, Arushi, Arzoo, Ashley, Dhrity, Eesha, Joanna, Malvika, Katya, Nandini, Nishtha, Panya, Riya, Sanjana, Nayanika, Sifat, Suhani, and Vidushi                                                                                                                                                            Photo credit: Prasad Siddhanthi

Prasad-5

Sargam in Bilawal by Anya, Ashna, Aditi, Elaina, Anahita, Anushka, Devina, Khushi, Mihika, Mansi, Palak, Simran, Tisha, Vedanshi, and Vritika                                                                             Photo credit: Prasad Siddhanthi

Thumri- 'Dekho ri langar' by Shruti, Saumya, Simran and Mukta Photo credit- Prasad Siddhanthi

Thumri- ‘Dekho ri langar’ by Shruti, Saumya, Simran and Mukta
Photo credit- Prasad Siddhanthi

Guru Jayashree Acharya Photo credit: Prasad Siddhanthi

Guru Jayashree Acharya
Photo credit: Prasad Siddhanthi

Jog tarana, Composed by Prateep Banerjee Anandi, Mahika Nair, Mahika Zutshi, Devyani, Ketaki, Nandini, Revati, Shubhangini, Saloni Photo credit: Prasad Siddhanthi

Jog tarana, Composed by Prateep Banerjee
Anandi, Mahika Nair, Mahika Zutshi, Devyani, Ketaki, Nandini, Revati, Shubhangini, Saloni
Photo credit: Prasad Siddhanthi

Chaturang, including 4 elementsof dance, percussion, sahitya, and gaana Dancers- Anya, Anumita, Anusha, Riya, Nandini, Yukti, Vaidehi, Khushi Photo: Prasad Siddhanthi

Chaturang, including 4 elements of dance, percussion, sahitya, and gaana
Dancers- Anya, Anumita, Anusha, Riya, Nandini, Yukti, Vaidehi, Khushi
Photo: Prasad Siddhanthi

'Madhav'. A Krishna Bhajan by Anandi, Mahika Nair, Mahika Zutshi, Devyani, Ketaki, Nandini, Revati, Shubhangini, Saloni Photo credit- Prasad Siddhanthi

‘Madhav’. A Krishna Bhajan by Anandi, Mahika Nair, Mahika Zutshi, Devyani, Ketaki, Nandini, Revati, Shubhangini, Saloni
Photo credit- Prasad Siddhanthi

Jayashree Acharya and students perform ‘Nritya Rang’ in London

In July 2015, Guru Jayashree Acharya and her students were invited to perform at the Nehru Centre in London. Jayashreeji is no stranger to London’s cultural afficionados, having taught at the Bharatiya Vidya bhawan in London for many years. Many who knew her welcomed her re-entry on London’s stage with great joy.

Accomplished and confident, the four young dancers- Mahika Nair, Shubhangini, Anandi Ray and Mahika Zutshi- enthralled the audience with their impeccable tayyari and confidence. Their presentation of items typical of the Lucknow gharana was a visual treat for London’s kathak lovers.

Scroll down for videos of Jayashreeji’s TV interview

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Kathak at Raahgiri, Gurgaon

Taking kathak from the hallowed spaces of the auditoria and academies to the streets is no mean achievement. Four enthusiastic young girls, under the guidance of their guru Jayashree Acharya, did just that at Raahgiri, Gurgaon’s celebration of car-free streets every Sunday.

Their short but beautiful kathak performance on the occasion of International Women’s Day was appreciated by a large crowd from different walks of life. Many were watching kathak for the very first time. Read a more detailed account here._DSC9315_1024 _DSC9380_1024 8March2015-raahgiri

Workshop with Deepak Maharajji, Gurgaon

Continuing the tradition of inviting renowned and talented artists to the studio, Rasik Performing Arts organised a two-day workshop with famous kathak exponent Deepak Maharaj on 13th and 14th September 2014. Deepakji taught over 75 students, from the youngest who were beginners to older students who had been initiated into the kathak journey for a few years. An intense experience, students learnt some fine nuances, unusual compositions and participated in a rare informal interactions with some of the brightest artistic minds in the country. Some immediate impressions are recorded here on a student’s personal blog.

Sep2014-deepakji workshop

Workshop with Smt. Roshan Datye, Gurgaon

Shrimati Roshan Datye, eminent and senior disciple of renowned guru Late Smt Rohini Bhate came from Pune to teach at the Gurgaon studio. Over two days, on 19th & 20th October 2013, Roshanji taught three batches of students, ranging in age from about seven all the way up to 40! She taught all three batches distinct stage-appropriate compositions. Her attention to detail, an emphasis on theoretical aspects of the dance form and her innate ability to be a robust communicator brought immense value to the kathak journey of participants. What was of particular value was the introduction of a distinct style and therefore an opportunity to expand the vocabulary of dance.

Oct 2013 workshop with Roshanji-1