Unique presentation of Romeo Juliet in Kathak

Kiran Chouhan, Birju Maharaj and Romeo Juliet artists

Kiran Chouhan, Birju Maharaj and Romeo Juliet artists

CHICAGO: Anila Sinha Foundation (ASF) celebrated 400 years of Shakespeare with a unique presentation of “Romeo & Juliet” in collaboration with Kala Eternal Rhythms, July 10 at McAninch Theater, College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn, a north side suburb of Chicago.

A large audience consisting of Kathak enthusiasts and supporters attended this Shakespearian love saga as a Kathak Dance Drama

The program began with a welcome speech by Dr. Shobha Sinha, Vice President of ASF. The first part of the program consisted of an enthralling Tabla performance by Pandit Swapan Chaudhari. He was joined on stage by his senior disciple Sri Raj Deshmukh, a renowned Tabla teacher and President of Kala Eternal Rhythms. As an offering to her guru Pandit Birju Maharaj, Ms. Kiran Chouhan, the Artistic Director of Anila Sinha Foundation, displayed her Kathak artistry with a dance to a bhajan composed by Maharajji himself.

Pt. Birju Maharaj then took the stage enthralling the audience with traditional Kathak dance showcasing many intricate rhythmic patterns and dance compositions in Teen Taal. A spell-binding performance by Pt. Birju Maharaj and Pt. Swapan Chaudhari ended the first half of the show. The audience was delighted to experience this rare combination of two stalwarts of their fields sharing the same stage to create an electrifying piece of art.

The second half of the program showcased the Kathak ballet ‘Romeo & Juliet’choreographed and directed by Padma Vibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj and Ms. Saswati Sen. It’s original music score is composed by Pandit Birju Maharaj and Jazz artist Louis Banks.

A team of over 30 top notch professional Kathak artists travelled all the way from India to participate in this production. Several local artists auditioned for and were lucky to have the once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of this grand show. The mesmerizing dancing, intense emoting and melodious music left the audience spell-bound.

Founded by Dr. Birendra Sinha, the mission of ASF is to promote and propagate the classical arts of India mainly Kathak by teaching, performing, and organizing Kathak related events and shows. The immense success of this show was a proud moment for ASF and encouragement to continue serving the community by hosting many such programs in the future.

Harish Rao