Kathak and All That Jazz

Kathak dancer Aditi Bhagwat feels giving a contemporary touch to the dance form by combining it with jazz will only add to its appeal

Published: 12th November 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th November 2014 06:00 AM   |  A+A-


KOCHI: Born into a Marathi household which reverberates music, it was not hard for Aditi Bhagwat to get used to the rhythm that reigned her life. Her mother,  the famous musician Ragini Bhagwat, sensed Aditi’s penchant for dancing  and took her to renowned kathak exponent Roshan Kumari who initiated her to the humongous world of dance.

Today, Aditi Bhagwat has given the dance form of kathak a new avatar by collaborating it with Jazz music. She has travelled all over the world with  her fusion form of kathak along with renowned Jazz musician Louiz Banks,  while carving a niche for her ‘experimental’ dance.

In Kochi for a performance, Aditi says the appreciation and applause she  gets from the people here is overwhelming. “Kochi has such an art-loving  crowd. I have been here for a few times with Louiz Banks at JT Pac and Thiruvananthapuram. I think the art sensibility of people here is very refined,” says Aditi.

A masters degree holder in dance, Aditi’s decided to get out of the brackets, explore and cross traditional borders and create new limits in her art form. Her fusion of kathak with jazz music, drums and lavani with jazz has found a new appeal.

“Besides Louiz Banks, I have also collaborated with ace percussionist Sivamani and music composer Merlin D’Souza. I think such attempts make the  dance form more enjoyable and easy to comprehend. There is no room for  ambiguity when we make it more contemporary. Besides, we can also use  present themes in our dance forms. That way, I get to use my body more. For instance, the traditional rule book of kathak denies the freedom for the  dancer to leap on stage, but when I collaborate it jazz music, I get  liberated from the rules that bind kathak,” says Aditi.

Aditi, who has acted in many Marathi movies, besides doing a solo performance in Madhur Bhandarkar’s ‘Traffic Signal’ says as a performer, she doesn’t see much difference in acting and dancing. Aditi has acted in several regional Marathi films like ‘Chalu Nawara Bholi Bayko’, ‘Dombivli Fast’, ‘Sumbaran’ and television shows like ‘Avantika’, ‘Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki’ and ‘Eka Peksha Ek’.

“Both are similar in many ways. Like acting, a dancer is trained to emote using his or her body. I  have always felt that a dancer would always make a graceful actor because of his or her lack of inhibitions,” says the actor who adds that she loved  being an actor because it enabled her to enact multiple emotions.

Her penchant to keep traditional art form going is evident when she says how  passionate she is about her students. “I have 15 students studying under me in my dance school “ADA” (Aditi Dance Academy). I take very few students under me because I would like to give them my full attention. Its more about quality and not quantity. I believe in instilling in them a passion for dance. I am sure they will develop a strong liking towards this traditional art form that they will pursue it throughout their life,” says Aditi who also gives online classes.

Aditi has participated in the fellowship program ‘Onebeat’ produced by Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation (NY) and initiated by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in September 2012.


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