Malti Shyam’s workshop and annual function at Tarang Academy

A few months ago, Malti Shyam took a workshop at the Tarang Music and Dance Academy (FB: @TarangMusicandDanceAcademy) in north Delhi. Malti ji is among the well-known exponents and gurus of the Lucknow gharana and has trained under Smt. Reba Vidyarthi and Pandit Birju Maharaj. Tarang is the dance academy of Tarana Aggarwal, daughter and disciple of Guru Rajkumar Sharma (Raju ji), another of Maharaj ji’s students. Tarana is also my Kathak teacher.

Malti ji’s workshop saw participation from students of all ages. The first day, she took the group through some technical pieces, honing their nritta skills. Then she moved to some bandishes. These had both the nritta and the nritya in amalgamation. For the nritta, she said it should be sharp (“mazboot aur karara”), that is, you do not let your body, hands and feet hang loose. Nritta should be crisp and the nritya attractive, she said.

Tarana Aggarwal and Malti Shyam
 These days, Kathak is seen as a form primarily of pace and speed. But Malti ji taught the students to make their Kathak attractive and evocative – it should be felt and that feeling should be communicated. In the bandish ‘Bhor bhayi dhaf bajan laage’, she insisted that the eyes follow the hand, which is showing the sun, and the dancer remember to keep smiling. Finally, she taught them a composition called ‘Natwar naagqr govind nacche sangeet geet gat nayi gat nayi’.

Aaghaz – annual function

These dancers, who are learning kathak under Raju ji and Tarana, performed at Tarang’s annual function, Aaghaz, recently. This was at the Muktadhara Auditorium in Delhi. The dancers wore gold and white costumes. In her piece, Tarana did nritta with glimpses of teental. her smiling envisage and gentle hands and footwork won applause .

Tarana Aggarwal


The ardhang was performed by senior students who were very precise in their movements. Krishna Vandana by the younger students set a lively pace. In the lasya and tandava piece, they depicted the attributes of Shiva and Parvati. The older children performed to a composition in teental.

The senior batch did tukdas and todas in dhamar taal. Finally, Manya and Gauri, two of the littlest, cutest ones, performed a composition on Krishna. The gurus’ work with the disciples was apparent. Their practice showed and it turned out to be a well-rehearsed presentation.