Dance is the Katha of my soul – Madhura Phatak

Madhura Phatak is a well known exponent of the North Indian Classical dance form Kathak. Kathak is a dance form that requires mastery over the technical aspects as well as the emotive aspects, since the essence of the performance is story-telling. Madhura has to her credit numerous successful performances across India and abroad, which have been extensively appreciated by audiences, art patrons as well as critics of dance. Various features on Madhura that have appeared in the print and electronic media highlight the versatile personality of this expressive dancer.

Madhura’s performances are marked by a brilliant balance of technical virtuosity and the emotive “abhinaya” aspect of Kathak, which is so much essential to the success of the performance. Breathtaking footwork, clean and graceful movements and deep understanding of literature stemming from her own experiences from life, transforms her stage persona into a source of pure energy that exudes vivacity, joy and a deep spiritual connect.

In addition to her strong repertoire that consists of compositions from two leading schools of Kathak, i.e. the Jaipur and the Lucknow school, Madhura has proved herself to be a successful choreographer, where she brings together her knowledge of singing, theatre, and martial arts together to form a complete expression. She has worked with international musicians and exponents of other musical traditions of India creating new expression in dance.

Recognised early for her talent, the Sahitya Kala Parishad awarded her the best dancer award for her performance at the Yuva Mahatosav. The Sur Singar Parishad Mumbai, which invites the stalwarts from the world of Kathak like Padmabhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj and Shrimati Sitara Devi to identify the next generation of talent, recognized her star potential by awarding Madhura the “Singar Mani” title. This petite and graceful dancer also has to her credit the Rajiv Gandhi Rashtriya Ekta Award, which is often given for contributions of the young to different fields of development and culture.

Madhura trained in Kathak since an early age of 5 from her home city Pune. 1990 onwards, she shifted to Delhi with the single aim of pursuing advanced training in Kathak. Madhura considers herself fortunate to have been trained under Guru Padmashri Shovana Narayan. In the year 1995 was awarded an M.Phil degree in German Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her dissertation for this degree “Dance a translation of literature” – A semiotic anaylsis, is recognized even today as an exemplary work of research.

Today in addition to her busy schedule of performances, Madhura imparts training to children and adults. For a period of two years, Madhura was specially invited by Akshay Pratishthan, a school that imparts education to the physically challenged and underprivileged children, to train their children in classical dance. She was also associated for a short stint with Salam Balak Trust, an NGO that houses several street children.

 Select Choreographies

* Sujata Story of a village girl from whom Lord Buddha received his first meal after a long penance.

* Priyamvada Based on the Marathi poem written by Shri Vasant Bapat. Shakuntala is married to King Dushyanta. However her close friend Priyamvada questions her own destiny and expresses her desire to find her love in life.

* Kaliyadaman Based on the famous legend of Krishna slaying the ten hooded serpent Kaliya, the dancer reinterprets the story bring forth the encounters between the Kaliya and the Krishna within. Conceptualised by Madhura.

* Udaan Based on the poem of a young Hindi poet Shri Ankur Mishra, exploring the flight of thoughts and dreams.

* Snehalap Conceptualised, written and choreographed by Madhura, this choreography depicts a monologue by the River Ganga, with her children – the human civilisation: She talks about her descend on earth, her concern for her children, and finally her wrath with civilisation for disrespecting her.

* Shristi A choreography, which delves into the five elements and celebrate its oneness as the human body.

* Discovering Love A theatrical dance production depiciting a woman’s inner journey of love. The choreography begins with a new interpretation of the love of Radha, the expressive and formless love of Meera and ends with the dancers own journey of discovering love, finding her beloved, her Sri Krishna within.

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