ONLINE: Karishma Desai’s Kathak shows maturity beyond her age in Vidha Lal’s Sankalp ep. 4

Karishma Desai

In the fourth presentation of her online performance series for young dancers, Sankalp, Kathak exponent Vidha Lal hosted Karishma Desai, a student of Prachi Dixit from Nupur Academy LA. This performance was broadcast on August 23 and was introduced by Prachi ji. I am writing my reports/impressions of the Sankalp performances at Vidha’s request.

According to her guru, the very young Karishma has been devoted to Kathak since she was 6 years old. After her manch pravesh at the age of 17, which was only last year, she is still devoted to learning and teaching the dance form. Her confidence and her passion for performing keep her dedicated to mastering her form. 

The first thing about this performance was the remarkable selection of the two pieces that she performed. They were excellent in their lyrics and music. The first piece was a Guru Vandana composed by Padma Vibhushan Pt. Birju Maharaj, choreographed by her guru Prachi Dixit. The shlokas from various guru stutis was sung melodiously into a composition. Through her gestures and stances, she depicted the unlimited powers of a guru that are bestowed on a shishya. It was a neatly performed piece with balancing stances. 

Next, Karishma presented the nritta ang in jhaptaal, which included a ladi, tihai, toda, tukda and paran. Again, it came across as a well-presented piece, where the dancer’s hastas and feet were very neat. Though it was performed at a slower speed than most young dancers, that accentuating the grace that is embodied in any technical performance. But I found her costume restricting her free movement.

Next was an abhinaya piece on a thumri, ‘Kahe na aaye more shyam’. With a change of outfit, I felt like she could show her movements more clearly. Her abhinaya for this piece was executed well, showing Krishna picking up the morpankha, which has been deliberately shed by the peacock for its lord, and putting it on his head. Further, she showed a gopi going to bathe in the river Yamuna, where she is missing the presence of her beloved. The abhinaya for choti goondhna and Holi were presented with a lot of expression, working at the same time on her hastas and footwork. For me, of the entire performance, this was the best, where every situation was shown with proficiency.

Karishma Desai

Karishma definitely exuded the confidence that her guru talked about, and the abhinaya piece was well-choreographed and danced. She has a lot of promise as a devoted young dancer and at the age of 18, she knows no bounds of how much she can work on her technique and abhinaya.

You can watch the performance on the Facebook page of Vidha Lal Kathak Exponent here: