Home » Community » CHARULATA – A Classical Presentation of a Love Saga by Shivangini Academy

CHARULATA – A Classical Presentation of a Love Saga by Shivangini Academy

The ballet Charulata was presented in classical Kathak form.

The ballet Charulata was presented in classical Kathak form.

On November 18th and 19th, the students of Shivangini Academy presented a Kathak based dance drama CHARULATA – based on the spellbinding story of Cinderella! It was an incredible experience for the audience as they watched the artistic unfolding of this epic saga of love and hope. The Director Mrs. Shiva Mathur, who is an exponent of the Lucknow Gharana of Kathak, showcased her creative skills to masterfully express this story weaving it with Kathak and the ‘Abhinay’ art that goes with it. The show started with several classical Kathak based dances interspersed with live Tabla and Dholak segments, intended to provide the audience a flavor of a student’s classical journey in the Academy. This section of the program was a prelude to the feature presentation and had students from all the three wings – Dholak, Tabla and Kathak of the Academy perform for a very enthusiastic crowd.
The performers in the Charulata production itself, brought several magical moments from this classic tale to life in a very beautiful manner. Particularly enthralling scenes included one when the fairy godmother appeared and dramatically changed the destiny of Charulata by transforming her into a gorgeous princess. The fast paced choreography was truly mesmerizing! Another captivating scene showed the Royal Ball and the bhav ntritya (focus on expressions) of the Prince and Charulata feeling attracted to each other. This was followed by the very dramatic transformation of Charulata back to being in rags when the midnight hour approached and her hurried departure, leaving her magical shoe behind! Several comic moments were also thoughtfully weaved into the performance such the shoe fitting scene where several village maidens came one by one to try their luck with the magical shoe. They had the audience in splits with their comic depiction! Every bit was perfectly choreographed with several ‘wow’ moments where audience could not help but applaud. The LED wall and its apt back drops changing with amazing precision further added a brilliant impact to the story telling. The audience gave a standing ovation to the performers – a testimony to the hard work that was more than apparent on the part of the students and their Guru!

Colorful costumes, spectacular sets brought to life the love saga of Charulata choreographed Mrs. Shiva Mathur, Director, Shivangini Academy.

Colorful costumes, spectacular sets brought to life the love saga of Charulata choreographed Mrs. Shiva Mathur, Director, Shivangini Academy.

Kathak is one of the most prominent classical art forms of North India and traditionally started with bands of dancers moving from village to village telling a story (katha) to the willing crowds. Mrs. Shiva Mathur craft fully used the same technique of storytelling through two traditional village characters – Nat and Natty. These dancers would not only narrate the story using pure Hindi kavitts (short rhythmic poetry intertwined with pure ‘nritta’ or technical aspect of Kathak) but also bound the audience to the story line throughout the production with their skillful technically rich routines.
Several sections of the dance-drama were supported by live music and vocals. Well known Sitar artist- Shane Monds and Vocal Artist Mrs. Neela Chakravarti, and Mrs. Mathur’s own Dholak and Tabla students performed the live segments adding a particularly unique and enriching aspect to the presentation.
For the many non-Hindi speaking audience members, the barrier of language was artistically handled by presentations made by English speakers who theatrically engaged the audience throughout the production. To say the least, this production was by far one of its kind in terms of catering to all age groups and ethnicities. That is truly commendable.

A scene from Charulata

A scene from Charulata

There was much talk about the very appropriate casting particularly of the lead roles. Out of 205 students who participated on both the days of the recital, only 85 were hand-picked to participate in the Charulata production itself. The fairy god mother was wonderfully portrayed by a senior student – Muskaan Chaturvedi. The role of step mother was brought to life by another senior student- Bianca Chandwani. Step sisters were very well portrayed by Sanjana Puthigai and Mehek Sikka. The role of the prince was very well performed by Isha Borkar, and to perform Charulata in rags, a 12th year student -Swati Kundra was selected. For the role of the princess, Mrs. Mathur’s own daughter Tarika Nath was very appropriately selected and the audience was completely enthralled to see each of these gifted students perform far beyond any one’s imagination!

The two sets of dancers who portrayed the role of the Nat Natty, highly praised for doing complete justice to their role, were Anika Saharia and Jilmil Das on the 18th and Anjali Asarpota and Misha Patel on the 19th. The royal messengers or the Rajdoots also had a very challenging role to perform and very ably presented by Riya Solanki, Riya Parikh and Sanjana Ganjam on the 18th and Shreya Dhutia, Eshna Parikh and Anjana Patel on the 19th.
In attendance were several prominent members of the community including the Deputy Consulate General Mr. Surendra Adhana, Stafford City Council Member Ken Mathew, Dr. & Mrs. Durga Agrawal, Dr. & Mrs. Virendra Mathur and several respected teachers of Arts in the Houston area. The performance played to a packed hall on both the days!


More news

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *