Interview - ANUREKHA GHOSH : Internationally acclaimed Indian Classical Kathak Danseuse, Choreographer and Art Director


Video: Subhomoy Mukherjee of WBRi Washington Bangla Radio talks to Anurekha Ghosh

Anurekha Ghosh - Indian Classical Dance (Kathak), UKAnurekha Ghosh is a world-renowned Kathak Dancer, Choreographer and Artistic Director of Anurekha Ghosh & Company (UK).

Born to a new generation of dancers and choreographers, Anurekha Ghosh is an inevitable name in the world of Indian (Kathak) dance. She has shown her excellence in Choreography.  Anurekha is based in United Kingdom.  Her technique and style is a combination of “tradition and modernity”.

Anurekha has been trained in Indian classical Kathak since the age of 4 and ½ years age under Meera Majumdar and Mousumi Sen in Calcutta, India.  Anurekha moved to United Kingdom in 1992. She took further training with Pratap Pawar. And finally she has received training under the tutelage of the renowned Kathak exponent, choreographer and teacher Nahid Siddiqui from Pakistan.

Anurekha Ghosh - Indian Classical Dance (Kathak), UKShe has learnt the art of Kalaripayattu, a South Indian Martial Arts at CVN Kalari, Kerala under Guruakkal C V Satyanarayanan.  She has also taken training in Contemporary Dance.Anurekha is presently receiving training in vocal singing, specializing in Bengali songs and Rabindra Sangeet from the living legend Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta.

Anurekha was declared to be the winner for the awards for Arts & culture category presented by the Asian women Achievement Awards, sponsored by Lloyds TSB Bank and BBC Asian Network.

Anurekha has been performing solo classical Kathak recitals, as well as presenting and devising new contemporary and classical productions for her company.  Her choreographic work includes FLAMES (1999), THE WHEEL (2001) & THE VEIL (2001), HU (2002), 2 – MELTING MOMENTS (2002- 03) and RASIKA (2003), ABHISARIKA (2003) BONDED PASSION (2003), GANGES TO NILE (2004), ILLUSION (2005), RUINS (2005), HUMSAFAR (2006), ANANTH / Infinity (2006),  MUDRA (2007) and NOOR (2007) and MONSOON VOICES (2008), FOOTPRINTS (2009).

Anurekha Ghosh Dance Company in performance - Indian Classical Dance (Kathak), UKAnurekha had the opportunity to collaborate and work with numerous internationally renowned choreographers like Padmashree Kumudini Lakhia, Nahid Siddiqui, Shobana Jeyasingh, Mark Baldwin, Andre Gingras to name a few.

She received The Lisa Ullman Scholarship for Dance and Movement and was selected as a choreographer for The Place Choreodrome from The Place Dance Theatre UK.

Anurekha has performed in the major venues and Festivals in United States of America, Canada, Europe, India, Estonia, Pakistan and the UK, which includes the Royal Opera House, and Royal Festival Hall, The Place Theatre, London, Musee guimet – Paris, Festival de Hellin – Madrid, Festival of Lille 3000 – France, Festival Musicalla (Nice-France), Festival of Fes of World Sacred Musics (Morocco), Abbey of Sylvanes of World Sacred Musics (France), The Arsenal (Metz), Eesti Konzert (Estonia: Presented work in 3 cities: Tallin, Johnvi, Pamru) in collaboration with Surya tv, Maison du Livre et de la culture, Bonnieux, France, Oriental 2006 (Tanzhaus nrw, Düsseldorf, Germany), World Performing Arts Festival (Lahore, Pakistan), Earthquake International Festival, Decibel x.trax Festival held in Manchester in 2003 & 2005, All India Music and Dance Festival 2007, Kalaghoda Festival’09.

Anurekha Ghosh - Indian Classical Dance (Kathak), UKAnurekha collaborated with the veteran singer Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta in the production CHANDALIKA by the noble laureate Rabindranatha Tagore.  She performed the character of Prokriti (The Untouchable Girl).  The performance was held at Rabindra sadan on 7th July 2008.

Anurekha has been experimenting with the Indian classical dance form Kathak through extensive research and development. Drawing influences from classical Kathak, Sufism, Martial arts, Indian classical music, Western contemporary dance and music, her aim is to shift and change, going through a process of chaos and confusion and then clarifying a concept which holds relevance to the present environment. This results in creation of a dance and musical language which is spiritual, dynamic, pure, fresh, beautiful, personal, innovative and is still a blend  of ‘tradition and modernity’.

Anurekha Ghosh Dance Company in performance - Indian Classical Dance (Kathak), UK Anurekha Ghosh - Indian Classical Dance (Kathak), UK

Anurekha believes in work that is created from challenging concept, which is often addressed by her who is always seeking to find new expression, meaning and new ways to make her productions.  Although Anurekha has a strong commitment to ‘Tradition’ yet she believes in stretching the ‘Tradition’ and finding an intelligent interpretation which is very personal.

She has performed extensively with the award winning British based Kathak choreographer Nahid Siddiqui and Company since 1999 in several productions.  Anurekha has worked with the reputed choreographer Aditi Managldas from India for one of her piece titled “Textures of Silence and Sound” which was performed as a part of the opening ceremony for Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.

She has danced in the film “FRANKENSTEIN”, directed by Michael Howell, choreographed by Mark Baldwin, screened on BBC 4 in March 2003.  Her performance is also featured in the film THE SUFI WORLD

Anurekha teaches both classical Kathak and contemporary Kathak.    She has taught the BA dance students of University of Derby, University of Wolverhampton and Coventry University.  She has been teaching educational workshops in Primary and secondary schools and performing art colleges in UK and India since 1994.

She has completed MA in Choreography from Middlesex University, UK.  She has given many performances on BBC, Channel 4, French Television, and Indian Television.  BBC world has televised her classical Kathak solo performance of Festival of FEZ in a programme called DESTINATION MOROCCO.

“Music, Dance, Visual Art, film, poetry, and mime ~ Anurekha Ghosh and Company is a combination of all these art forms.  With its root in Indian sub-continent, Anurekha Ghosh and Company based in UK, seeks inspiration from east and west, creating original expression which is very unique by its own nature.”

Anurekha wanted to pursue her own choreographic intentions, which led to the formation of Anurekha Ghosh and Company in January 2001.  The company has been receiving financial support from Art Council of England, Birmingham City council, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and sponsorships/commissions from various other art organizations in UK, India and Europe.  The company toured extensively in UK and India with a triple bill dance production entitled “The Veil” in autumn 2001.

The company has premiered 2 new work “Moments of Give” & “Rasika” in spring 2003 in Manchester, Birmingham, and Royal Opera House, London.  Anurekha has collaborated with international award winning contemporary choreographers: Mark Baldwin (UK), Andre Gingras (Netherlands), composer Pandit Jayanta Bose (India), Digital Designer Simon Hyde, and lighting Designer Karen Norris along with a team of contemporary dancers.

The Company entered into a new partnership and collaboration with the internationally famed Flamenco dance Company “ALMA”, to create a production titled “BONDED PASSIONS”, featuring a sublime fusion of Kathak and Flamenco dance against a live musical exchange between Spanish musicians and Indian musicians. “ BONDED PASSION” has been touring in UK in Autumn 2004 and has received critical acclaim.  In November 2005, ‘BONDED PASSION’ was performed in three cities in Estonia, under the auspices of Eesti Kontsert.

In March and April 2004, the company has worked in partnership with “The DRUM” to develop an in-house production titled “Ganges to Nile: The story of 2 Rivers” celebrating “Black and Ethnic Minority Dance”.  This is a conversation between the traditions of Kathak and African Dance in contemporary context with layers of live music and moving visual images.  “Ganges to Nile” featured cross-cultural conversation with choreographic collaboration between the African choreographer H.Patten and Anurekha Ghosh.  The music score was composed and played live by Pandit Ulhas Bapat.

The next production Ruins was the culmination of particular stage of artistic development for the company which created an identity and brand for Anurekha Ghosh & Company’s work in the UK, Europe and India.   For Ruins she invited the award winning choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh and Kumudini Lakhia to make pieces for her company.  She also created her own piece to make up the three parts to the piece.

Ruins has been the largest tour of Anurekha Ghosh and Company, presenting 60 performances in 3 separate tours across England, India, Pakistan and Germany.  Festivals included the Decibel x.trax festival held in Manchester in May 2005; World Performing Arts Festival (Lahore, Pakistan); Oriental Festival 2006 – Tanzhaus Theatre, Düsseldorf) and Festival of Lille 3000; France.

In Autumn 2006 Anurekha Ghosh & Company created and produced a new production titled CONVINCE-Me.  Anurekha seamlessly blended classical Kathak dance with diverse musical genres from Iran to Persia to the Sufi music in ‘CONVINCE-Me’. In this exciting collaboration, the dancer and the musicians express the rapturous heights of spiritual and mystical ecstasy by bridging the gap between tradition and modernity, yet preserving the doctrine of classical temple, darbari forms and the mysticism of Sufi traditions.

In February 2007, Anurekha was given a special project grant by the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Ministry of Culture – Government of India, to choreograph an inter-disciplinary production combining the acrobatic dance form of the Gotipuas from Orissa along with the dynamic folk tradition of Chhau from Purulia in combination with classical Kathak.  The production MUDRA, included 22 artists from various disciplines (some of the artists came from rural villages in India), who worked under the leadership of Anurekha and it was premiered on 22nd February 2007 in Purbashree Auditorium, Eastern zonal Cultural Centre, Kolkata, India to a full house audience.  The production has received tremendous acclaim from the press and connoisseurs of Kolkata.

In Autumn 2007 Anurekha launched her new production NOOR – Light featuring acrobatic martial arts to contemporary Kathak dance, taking the spins from Kathak to a new inner stillness. In these times of global uncertainty, Noor questions the nature of ‘enlightenment’, exploring through this extraordinary dance piece, our notion of light from a scientific, religious and mystical viewpoint.

The company performed NOOR in 13 major theatres within in UK with NOOR in Autumn 2007. The second tour of NOOR took place in May 2008.  The London premier of NOOR was held at South Bank Centre in June 2008.  In August 2008 the company has been invited to New York to present NOOR at the Erase Border Festival organised by Indo American Arts Council.

Press Quotes:

“Anurekha Ghosh livened up the final Tuesday of Resolution! The festival of new dance, with a lustrous work for her company that marks her out as one to watch”
Ghosh is a graceful and stylish Kathak dancer….a powerful personality.
Most impressive is her instinct for structure.  She calmly lays out her ideas and allows them to build.  She has a lot to say.

Anne Sacks, Evening Standard, London.

“Anurekha Ghosh captivated the audience with Tarana, a demonstration of beautifully executed and well-defined movements with a variety of torah tukras.  The freshness and calmness in her (Anurekha Ghosh’s) expression resembled in many ways a younger Nahid Siddiqui.”

Extradition, London

“When a young artist attempts to create a piece that plays with traditional elements of her art form, in this case dance, and fuses it with western influences, she runs the risk of being just a little bit ‘right on’.  But when the said dancer/choreographer is Anurekha Ghosh, allowances can be made.

Tasmin Curry, Metro, Manchester

“Captivating Kathak performance by Anurekha Ghosh”
“Kathak Feast by Anurekha”

The Tribune, Chandigarh, India

“The choreography was superb….it was so interesting to see the wonderfully executed classical Kathak.  The whole work is visually stunning and emotionally engaging.
Anurekha’s dance was precise, expressive, and constantly fascinating”

Times of India, Ahmedabad, December 2004

REACHING FOR THE STARS

Congratulations to Anurekha Ghosh for dreaming on such a grand scale.
Small miracles of artistically pleasing productions have had their days of glory.
All the dancers gave a strong performance.  Ghosh was confident and competent in both her Kathak and contemporary dance.

Pulse Magazine, summer issue 2003.

IMPRESSIVE AMBITIONS

“Western contemporary meets martial arts and South Asian Kathak dance in this unusual evening of dance, psychological exploration and liberation of the mind and spirit.

Combinations of trios, duets and solos are performed with individuality and enthusiasm………

An ambitious project by the company that leaves you feel reflective and heartily impressed.”

Lucy Wallis, The Stage, London.

 “Always engrossing, if not over laden with clarity, Ruins could represent a milestone in East-West dance fusion”.

The Stage, May 2005.

“Famed for her fusion of North Indian Kathak dance with other forms, Spanish Flamenco, Western Contemporary and martial art – it was an evening of beautiful, mesmerizing movement.”

Hereford Times, May 2005.

“Anurekha Ghosh presented yet another wonderful evening entertainment, an ambitious work, executed with aplomb.”

Ballet Magazine, March 2005.

It’s a very tempting, but a bit too glib to see the latest piece made by and for Anurekha Ghosh and her wonderful dancers as a reflection of the experience of the younger Asians in the West.

Forget the Martha Graham style angularity that characterises western contemporary styles, this is rounder, more flowing, somehow less abstract – something not seen before in quite this way.”

Birmingham Post, March 2005.

Reviews from NOOR:

Trog Woolley in Ballet magazine said:

‘Combining dance, music, narration and video projection, NOOR has a very cinematic quality.  The effect is quite simply stunning.  The cello underlies the score with the sarangi and vocals leading the way.  Tabla provides occasional highlights and the overall effect is almost visual. NOOR is a very slick presentation and I think it is the strongest of all the works so far created by Anurekha Ghosh.  A must see’ 

Peta Davies in The Stage said:

‘The meeting of east and west is a constant theme for Anurekha whose work has always been one of bridging this cultural divide exploring and experimenting with different dance styles. Anurekha is the most expressive and beautiful Kathak dancers to watch, her presence on stage is Noor.’

Contact:

UK Contact:

Telephone:    +44 (0) 121 420 1062
Mobile:     +44 (0) 7957 637 017
Fax:         +44 (0) 121 420 1062

Email:     anurekha_shree@hotmail.com
Website:     www.anurekhaghoshcompany.com
        www.myspace.com/anurekhaghoshcompany
        www.myspace.com/noorlight