Performers in red traditional attires shone on the stage of Mandala Theatre, Thapagaun on May 2 as they moved elegantly showcasing one of the most gracious dance forms - Kathak.

They were performing at Nritya Shrinkhala, 0.1 - the first episode of a series of collective dance performances, organised by the Aesthetic Dance Studio. And it was a sight to behold where one could experience the mesmerising dance form come to life.

Kathak is an amalgamation of Sanskrit words 'Katha' and 'Kathakar', meaning the story and the storyteller respectively.

This classical dance form is an expressive and artful way of storytelling by integrating cadenced movements, gestures and expressions of the dancers making the performance an aesthetic experience. And the performance was filled with rhythmic foot movements, expressive eyes and hand gestures as the nine dancers told different stories through their dance.

The show was divided into different segments, the opening act called Nrit, centredaround the dance element of Kathak, focussing more on the technicalities and movements.

The second part was a solo silent act portraying Abhisarika, one of the archetypal states of the romantic heroine Ashtanayika, performed by Namrata KC, choreographer and director of the show, followed by Leela themed on Lord Krishna's childhood. The dancers also incorporated a distinctive theme of child sex abuse in one of their acts raising awareness on the issue.

The closing act of the show was a performance by all nine dancers imparting an empowering message to all women to be confident and comfortable in their skin.

The performers' eloquence and refinement of the artistry in each performance got everyone in the audience cheering and gasping. The programme ended with the revelation of a year-long diploma dance course called Aaramabha with Kathak as the main course - the first of its type in Nepal, introduced by the Aesthetic Dance Studio.

The series also aimed to raise funds for opening a dance library at the Studio. The dance library is expected to broaden the theoretical knowledge of aspiring dancers.

KC, who holds a Master's degree in Performing Arts and is the founder of the Studio, highlighted the need for creating a platform for the performers to showcase their talent and uplift the sector of classical dance. "Our plan is to continue such shows in collaboration with other dance studios, at least on a bi-monthly or a monthly basis," she added.

An additional show of the dance series will be held on May 10 at Mandala Theatre at 5:30 pm.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 05, 2022, of The Himalayan Times