Saturday, September 1, 2007
Ghana and India celebrate anniversaries with dance
By: Clement Atagra and Fadila Mumuni
A FIVE-MEMBER musical troupe from India on Monday staged a splendid performance of “kathak dance” at the National Theatre, in Accra.
The performance was put together by the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture, the India High Commission and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations as part of activities marking Ghana’s 50th Golden Jubilee celebration and Indian’s 60th Independence Anniversary celebration.
Kathak is a north Indian classical dance that dates back to 1550 B.C and evolved from a group of male dancers called kathakas traveled to the indigenous population of India spreading Hinduism through dance, mime, singing and acting.
The technique of kathak today is characterised by fast rhythmic footwork set to complex time cycles.
The footwork is matched by the accompanying percussion instruments such as tabla and pakhawaj and the dancer and percussionists often indulge in a virtuoso display of rhythmic wizardry.
Leading the group in their performances was Shikha Khare, a teacher at the National Institute of Kathak Dance in India.
She won the hearts of many at the half filled National Theatre with her calculated feet display set in consonance with the percussion instruments.
In the first 15 minutes of the performance, she did an innovation, dance in praise of Goddess Radha and Lord Krishna.
It was followed by 30 minutes of enlightenment about the technical aspects of kathak dance involving hand movements, poses, hand gestures, rhythmic feet movement and specific syllables.
She performed a dance on ‘holi’ (a colourful festival of India) which conveys the expressional aspects of kathak dance. It highlights joys and colours of love, peace, harmony and unity among the people and is based on the tales of Goddess Radha and Lord Krishna.
Ms. Khare wrapped her performance up with a dance based on “suf”I music (traditional music), a spiritual dance which involves mingling the body and the soul.
Other members of the team were Mohammed Nasir Khan who played the Sarangi (stringed instrument), Sami Ullah Khan, vocalist and player of the harmonium (key instrument), Akhilesh Bhatt on the tabla (drum) and Mohit Gangani on the pakhawaj (drum).
As a curtain raiser, the Ghana National Dance Company performed some dances to the admiration of the audience.
In audience were such as the Chairman of the Council of State, Professor Daniel Adjei Bekoe, the Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, Sampson Kwaku Boafo, former Minister of Water Resources and Housing, Hackman Owusu Agyemang and the Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, Rajesh Nandan Prasad.
In remarks, Mr. Boafo noted that the relationship between Ghana and India is a long-standing one and in 2002, President Kuffour cemented it by visiting India.
He thanked the Indian government and its people for supporting the country by contributing to the celebration of Ghana’s Golden Jubilee in India.
Mr. Prasad said Ghana and India have long been close allies even since time of independence of both countries.
He expressed gratitude to Ghanaians for partnering with India to organize the event and indicated that similar performances will be staged in Kumasi and Sunyani.
The Ghanaian Times - Saturday, September 1, 2007 Page: 11