Five Reasons to try this Dance Fusion Class 'Featuring Kathak "
Updated: 5 days ago
I grew up in the 1970s in London, to Mauritian immigrants parents who sent us every Saturday to learn Indian Classical ‘Kathak’ dance. You see my father, the late Gaya Matabudul, was a pillar of the Mauritian community and a Hindu Pandit, and both he and my mother wanted us to keep our cultural heritage and dancing was a way for me to do just that.
Almost every weekend my father hosted traditional Vedic ceremonies to celebrate auspicious days, and festivals and to build community. After the prayers and bhajans ( songs of worship ), my sisters and I performed our rehearsed Kathak dance routines, dressed in 'traditional Indian outfits. We also performed all over London at prestigious venues. It felt good to move my body and challenge my brain to learn something new.
'Learning Kathak, this ancient Indian performing Art at such a young age was a great confidence booster.''
Dancing through my memories
I recall performing a classical Indian Kathak routine at the prestigious ‘Commonwealth Institute’ in London at the age of seven. Never before had I seen such a professional-looking stage. The large auditorium was filled with rows of seats that seemed to go on forever. When it was my turn to perform and the curtain raised, I felt excited and nervous at the same time looking out at the sea of people in the audience.
You see, I was an overweight child who, up until that moment, had been rather self-conscious of how I looked. However, dressed in my beautiful Indian skirt and matching blouse, I felt like a million bucks. Upon hearing the familiar music, my fears, anxiety, and lack of confidence seemed to melt away as I began to dance to the folk song, ‘Fagan Formato Aayo’ and move melodically to the music.
Before long, I was lost in the rhythm of the dance. I remember feeling so happy and ecstatic on that stage, dancing almost like in some kind of trance. When the curtain went down, upon hearing the loud applause, I was brought me back to my body. It was a marvelous experience and one I will never forget.
The History of Kathak
I am grateful to have learned Kathak which is such an expressive dance with much culture and history. Kathak dates back to the 4th century BC and was very popular in the courts and kingdoms amongst nobility and royalty.
It originated from the traveling poets of North India, also known as ‘Kathakars’ or storytellers, rather apt, as I consider myself quite the storyteller!