Aditi Mangaldas reinventing Kathak dance at Edinburgh International Festival

This article is from 2012

Aditi Mangaldas reinventing Kathak dance at Edinburgh International Festival

‘It’s interesting and challenging for me to explore the unknown,’ says Aditi Mangaldas, on the phone from her company’s base in New Delhi. Which is exactly what the Indian choreographer has been doing for the past 21 years, since the formation of the Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company.

After two successful visits to the Edinburgh Fringe, in 2001 and 2005, Mangaldas is bringing her unique brand of Kathak dance back to Scotland, but this time at the invitation of the Edinburgh International Festival.

Inspired by our desire to search for new things, Uncharted Seas is one of two ensemble pieces Mangaldas has re-worked for the occasion. In terms of costumes, music and dance, the piece has been created in the traditional Kathak style. However, Mangaldas has attempted to do something new with the structure, giving the viewer room to manoeuvre.

‘Classical Kathak is usually done as a solo, in a lecture/demonstration form,’ she says. ‘You explain what you are going to do, then go into the process. Which gives rise to amazing technical possibility, but I find that the magic is lost. But within the classical style, there is a possibility of letting the audience use their own imaginations, and Uncharted Seas is my attempt at doing that.’

The second half of the double-bill, Timeless, takes a more modern approach, brought about in part by the dancers’ additional training in yoga and the Indian martial arts form, Kalaripayattu.

‘It’s like sewing the seeds of Kathak, and watering it with contemporary sensibilities,’ explains Mangaldas. ‘So that it sprouts a plant that has roots of the classical tradition, and yet has grown beyond its format in every respect – in the movement vocabulary, in its presentation, and in the overall feel.’

Royal Lyceum Theatre, 473 2000, Sat 18–Sun 19 Aug, 7.30pm, £10–£30.

Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company: Uncharted Seas (extract) & Timeless (extract)

Uncharted Seas/Timeless

  • 4 stars

The Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company presents a powerful and beautiful double bill. Uncharted Seas takes you to the heart of classical Kathak. Dancers weave in and out of the shadows with grace, poise and a stunning sense of rhythm. Entrancing, distinctive and exhilarating, Timeless utilises a totally new contemporary…

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