KARACHI: Lovers of music and dance were thoroughly entertained by the popular classical dancer Farah Yasmeen Shaikh and a set of exceedingly talented musicians as they performed their heart out in the Kathak workshop finale act at T2F on Thursday evening.

Ms Shaikh was initially accompanied on stage by tabla player Yousuf Kerai, vocalist and harmonium player Ustad Mahmood Ali Khan and the talented young sitar nawaz Shehroz Hussain. As the ustad began to sing the bandish ‘Dekho kaisa kaisa naach’ she entered the stage and immediately attracted the audience’s attention with her elegant moves. The piece was not a lengthy one, therefore as the artists took a breather, Ms Shaikh first told the attendees about the three-day workshop with a fine group of participants. She also said her performance at T2F on Thursday would largely be improvised, because such an effort primarily required the “joy and trust” of the performers.

After that the second piece of the evening was introduced. Ms Shaikh said it was in teen taal (16-beat cycle). The audience, which comprised the young and the not-so-young alike, liked her dance and appreciated her with a warm round of applause. When the routine finished, she lauded Yousuf Kerai for “absorbing” the composition of her guru. Mr Kerai reciprocated the feeling by saying that he learned a lot from her.

Ms Shaikh also gave information on her career. She said she was born and raised in California (hence has an unmissable American accent) and started taking an interest in dance when she was five years old. Initially, she was taken in by western forms. When she was 18, she reached college in San Francisco where she thought she was at the “right place at the right time”. There she met her guru who was originally from Kolkata. She spoke about her guru with reverence and respect and touched upon his many contributions to the art form, including that of kathak yoga, which she demonstrated a bit as well by playing the harmonium.

The renowned tabla player Ustad Khursheed Hussain’s entry into the scheme of things added another dimension to the event. The ustad played a relatively difficult 14-beat pattern to which Ms Shaikh danced with a great deal of aplomb. The audience particularly enjoyed the number.

Then Ms Shaikh’s focus shifted to the art of storytelling. She said the base of the word kathak was katha, meaning a story. She said she would now perform a piece inspired by Indu Sundaresan’s novel The Twentieth Wife, a historical fiction. The book tells the tale of Empress Nur Jehan (Mehrunnisa) who as an eight-year-old girl falls in love with Emperor Jehangir and entertains the idea of one day becoming his wife. As she grows up, she does become his twentieth wife. Ms Shaikh’s excerpted interpretation of the tale was received well.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2016

Opinion

Editorial

Mianwali raid
Updated 02 Feb, 2023

Mianwali raid

The military needs to share intelligence with civilian agencies to neutralise the militant menace nationwide.
Corruption unlimited
02 Feb, 2023

Corruption unlimited

PAKISTAN’S consistent slide on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index over the last several...
Women police officers
02 Feb, 2023

Women police officers

IN a heartening development, a second female police officer has been appointed as DPO in Attock, weeks after the...
Road to perdition
Updated 01 Feb, 2023

Road to perdition

This is also the time of reckoning for those who sowed the seeds of a disastrous policy against militants.
Transport tragedies
01 Feb, 2023

Transport tragedies

TWO tragedies over the weekend illustrate the weak protocols governing the safety of transport in Pakistan. In fact,...
Disqualifying Jam Awais
01 Feb, 2023

Disqualifying Jam Awais

IT appears that there may be some kind of small punishment after all for PPP lawmaker Jam Awais, who was pardoned ...