Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh had great admiration for dance and dancers, and the art flourished under his court.
The unique dance form of Kathak, considered to be the traditional dance of the ‘Yadavas’, was nurtured in the mid 19th century.
Sushmita Banerjee, one of the contemporary exponents of Kathak from Kolkata, admires Kathak for its glorious tradition and its historical journey from its origin back in the 3rd century.
Sushmita is in Kozhikode for the inaugural ceremony of the Kerala Gharana, an organisation meant for cultural exchange between states.
The danseuse becomes animated when asked about her art form.
“I have been practicing Kathak for many years. Each dance form in India is varied in its fashion though everything originated from a single text.My research on Kathak has proved that the dance form originated in early 3rd century. The makeover of Kathak is clear evidence that it was an art form of a middle class sect in the north. The verses lead us to believe that it was the ‘Yadavas’ who practiced it,” she says.
Banerjee further says that the advantage of learning any kind of dance form is manifold.
“Apart from ensuring body fitness, it also helps build a person’s character. The best thing is that you learn to respect the space of others,” opines Susmitha.Having secured a diploma in Kathak from Prayag Sangeeth Samithi in Kolkata, Susmita has traveled quite a lot across India and abroad with her art.
“I have been to Kerala many times before. The dance forms of Kerala like Mohiniyattam and Koodiyattam are highly appealing. But what really enthralls me is the north Kerala art form of Theyyam, which is very difficult to master,” she says