Pandit Rajendra Gangani creates ‘Kathak magic’ in Sydney

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Maestro Pandit Rajendra Gangani, one of the most revered classical artists of India, is popularizing Kathak and widening its repertoire without meddling with the classical framework of the form.

Rajendra Gangani belongs to Jaipur Gharana and is seventh scion of the lineage. An accomplished artist, Rajendra Gangani wears many roles, a guru, performer, choreographer, composer and a musician with equal dedication.

When Rajendra Gangani’s gunghroos speak, they recount the hoary tradition of his gharana and Sydneysiders were fortunate enough to enjoy his mystical performance at Riverside Theatre on October 28, 2017.

To celebrate Sydney-based Swastik Institute of Dance’s 10th anniversary, Rajendra Gangani travelled all the way from India.

“This is the first time that we have experienced a pure Kathak show,” said the artistic director of Swastik, Sumati Nagpal, on the occasion.

The evening kicked off with five performances created by Swastik’s youngest students.

In the second segment of the show, there were more dance performances by Swastik students – but with a twist.

In the lead-up the show, Pandit Rajendra Gangani has conducted an intensive six-day Kathak workshop in Sydney. While the workshop was conducted at Swastik’s Harris Park studio, it was open to everyone and not just Swastik students.

More than 80 Kathak students participated in this workshop. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from the legendary Pandit Rajendra Gangani and the four pieces created during these workshops were part of the second segment.

Accompanying the dancers on stage were live musicians – Yogesh Gangani  on tabla and Vinod Gangani on harmonium had also flown all the way from India to be part of the workshop and show. Sydney-based Maharshi on tabla and Rashpaal Ji on sitar were also part of the live-musician ensemble.

Pandit Rajendra Gangani performance took the audience on a journey, which started with depictions of Indian mythological characters – from the grace and might of Lord Shiva to the child-like demeanor of Lord Krishna.

He performed three different Kathak taals – Chautaal, Roopak and Teen – on three different ragas: Bhopali, Yaman and Shankar. Jugalbandi – in which the dancer and the tabla player create the same sounds– proved to be enormously popular with the audience.

Pandit Rajendra Gangani’s performance hit vastly contrasting notes during the night. One minute he brought down the sound of his ghungroo to a mere whisper – leaving the room in pin-drop silence  and another minute he burst into vigorous twirls and resulted in a thunderous applause.

At the end of the show, Pandit Rajendra Gangani received a standing ovation from the packed auditorium, with fans queuing up for photographs with the legend after the show.



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