All photos by Chantelle D’mello
Dancer, actress and Guinness World record holder Prachee Shah performed a 45-minute Kathak set yesterday at the Katara Drama Theater.
Shah, who holds the current world record for performing 93 kathak spins in a minute, entertained a rapt audience with a combination of rapid footwork, twirls, hand gestures and expressions, accompanied by her mentor and a team of musicians on vocals, tabla (a drum like instrument), and sarangi (a classical indian string instrument).
Recently appointed India’s Kathak ambassador, Shah, who hails from the western Indian city of Jaipur, has been practicing the dance form since the age of 5, and has performed over 200 solo dances worldwide.
Her four-act performance focused on devotion, expression, spoken rhythmic patterns, melody and yearning as Shah, adorned with over 400 bells tied around her feet, went through back-to-back dances, poems, recitations, and movements.
Kathak is one of the eight original forms of Indian classical dance, and traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India.
Derived from the Sanskrit word katha meaning story and katthaka meaning ‘he who tells a story,’ Kathak contains traces of temple and ritual dances and the influence of the bhakti movement, along with certain features of Persian Central Asian dance.
As well as shining in her dance career, Shah is also an Indian soap opera actress, most widely known for her time on the 1833-episode show Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.
Dignitaries including the Indian Ambassador and the General Manager of Katara attended the show, which was promoted by the Indian Embassy via social media and local newspapers.
Did you see the show? Thoughts?