Vedic Dance – Kathak with Wendy

Vedic Dance: Tuesdays 3-4 pm. Passion  Dance Studio.   Vedic Dance based on the Kathak classical dance tradition of North India. Basic footwork patterns, movements and turns are taught with a view to imparting the essence of this body culture and exquisite dance language.  Kathak is the dance style that shares its history and evoltution with North Indian Hindustani music (known in the TM movement as Gandharvaveda) and is danced to raga-based melodies and compositions.   There are at least three major Indian classical dances that have been referred to by Maharish and Nada Ram as Vedic dance. Bharata Natyam, Kathak and Odissi.  Each style has its own tradition and each has a “pure dance” and a “storytelling” aspect to it.  I’m inspired to start a new class in the North style, which began in the temples of North India thousands of years ago, as a narrative art for conveying the Vedas thru mime and mudra.

The goal of my class is to convey the inner experience and mood of this fluid and highly refined dance art.  Even if one does not intend to pursue Kathak as a discipline, my idea is to impart its beautiful grace and rhytmic charm and the use of mudras as a practice for joy and exercise.  It’s also an experiment with whether or not I can distill from my own experience of 25 years, the inner feeling of the form and give to students the techniques for having this experience even without years of training.  Sacred dance is based on perfect geometries (shapes we make) and also precision of rhythm,  depth of the music, and also the consciousness and intent of the dancer. My desire is to share the form’s inherent  principles so new and experienced dancers can enjoy the bliss and grace of Indian dance and apply it to any movement form in which they engage.  It’s a great thing to learn a particular dance language because precision of spatial poses and movements creates higher consciousness in the viewer and the opening of shakti in the dancer.   Ornate gestures are one of the great charms of Indian dance, whether it’s bollywood or classical.

I understand that Maharishi wanted to have the main classical dances of India available in the movement: Bharata Natyam, Kathak and Odissi, but he expressed concern over the possible strain since each of these dances requires physical stamina and discipline.  But they can be taught in a way that honors each students physical abilities and each of these dance styles has a different flavor and devotional ambience, so I want to offer the Kathak flavor to those who are charmed by it’s emphaisis on intricate footwork, and lasya (extreme grace).  Kathak evolved as a dance style during the bhakti era when the Krishna Rasa Lilas were performed in the temples and then the courts of Kings.  It is a perfect example and opportunity to explore the intersection of individual, self-referral cognition, creativity and tradition.

There is a beautiful quote, possibly from Maharishi that sacred dance is “standing in front of the deity and moving without restriction.”   Why we learn a language is so we can let go and let the body express overwhelming reverence.  We learn some steps and then we discover some others. We discover the flow from one move to another and the mind’s use of the creative laws.  To me it’s that meeting point of spontaneity, beauty and ecstasy that make dance sacred.

It will be a joy to share this dance style with people of all ages, shapes and sizes.  Other class times might be possible with enough interest. Passion Dance Studio is at 607 W. Broadway Suite 265.  472-4222 or message me on FB. Drop ins fine – $34 for four classes and $10 drop in.  the four classes do not have to be consecutive but should be used within three months.