The moment Andalusian flamenco dancer Antonio Hindalco appeared on the stage and stomped his feet alongside California-based Kathak exponent Chitresh Das, those present there knew that were in store for something unique. Kathak and flamenco find common ground in percussive footwork and dependence on complex rhythm structures. Both Das and Hindalco’s jugalbandi was a treat to watch as they tried to match steps with each other.
Dressed in a green kurta and churidar, Das and three of his students were the kathakars (storytellers) of the day as they presented various repertoires of the dance form that is known to have originated in the 16th century.
Preceded by the jugalbandi, which was received well, Das began the performance with the traditional vandana — a prayer in the praise of Lord Shiva — with Biplab Bhattacharya accompanying him on the tabla and Jayanta Banerjee on the sitar. While 69-year-old Das’ footwork was immaculate, Hindalco’s carriage, emotional intensity and highly technical performance, too, was quite intriguing.
Apart from multiple spins, Das also presented Natwari Nritya with abhinaya ang followed by the presentation of styles of Lucknow and Jaipur gharana. Born in Kolkata, Das trained at Nritya Bharati, one of India’s premiere dance institutions found by Das’ parents. The audience, quite few in number, applauded at regular intervals, especially when Das showcased the journey of a train and the story of Madan Bhasma.