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Feedback from the students

‘As a Kathak lover and performer I am delighted to be a part of the Nayak Bheda prgramme organised by ALAP. The choreography has been challenging and interesting to bring out the beauty of Nayak through the expression and movement in Kathak dance style. I am very humbled and proud for the opportunity to learn under the able guidance of Padamshree Guru Pratap Pawar Ji.

Special thanks to Mr. Sunil Sunkara ji and Mr. Balbir Singh ji for your kind support and encouragement.’

Ashwani Srivastava

‘In my ballet training, we were always encouraged to mark along with the teacher and that we always had to do something full out – be it the arms or footwork. During my sessions with Guruji I found myself still marking things through and twitching a lot whilst he was demonstrating. I am still learning to take a moment to observe the teacher and then do, rather than just try and dive in head first and hope for the best.’

Erica Mulkern

‘It was a very enriching as well as enjoyable experience to learn Nayakanveshan from PadamShri Guru Pratap Pawar ji. The details, nuances, and the methodology to internalise the character and dialogues are extremely valuable for dancers to show Bhav (expressions). I consider myself fortunate that I got to learn to dance on this iconic music piece, crafted so beautifully by Padmavibhushan Pt Birju Maharajji’s for Guru Pratap Pawar ji.

Thanks to ALAP for organising this workshop.

Thanks also to BSDC for providing fellowship to several dancers for this course, including to my student, Nishant Panicker.’

Vibha Ramaswami

‘In my ten years of learning dance, I have yet to see anyone break down abhinaya with as much finesse and relevance as Guruji has done in this workshop’

Nishant Panicker

Canadian dancer, choreographer and inner-city doctor Leila Makhani reflects on her experience of the course and the spirit of dance during a global pandemic:

Over the last few months, the global pandemic has brought devastation and tragedy to all global citizens. But one thing remains true – the resilience of the human spirit. In a world full of trauma and loss, there are some that continue to spread joy and light. Padmashri Pratap Pawar (who many of us call Guruji) is one of these incredible souls who continues to spread the art of Kathak dance, without limits and without borders.

During the global pandemic, Guruji – the Sansrkit word for guide, master, or teacher – enabled many of us to continue our dance journeys through the use of technology. Throughout this process, I have learned many things: that the precise rhythm needed for Kathak dance can overcome the challenges caused by technology; that true mastery of dance – such as that of Guruji – knows no bounds and is transmissible through any platform whether live or on screen; and finally, that the spirit of dance can outlive a global hardship.

Participating in the global workshop, ‘Nayak Bheda’ led by Guruji, has allowed me to tap into a global dance community and learn from my peers and seniors. The recent upsurge in the use of technology has created opportunities for increased access to such workshops for performers around the world. I look forward to continuing my dance journey, both with Guruji’s tutelage and as part of the group learning within the workshop.

‘Guruji is one of those incredible souls who, in a world full of trauma and loss, continues to spread joy and light through the art of Kathak dance, without limits and without borders’

Leila Makhani

First of all, I would like to say that I consider myself very lucky and proud to be a disciple of such a great Guru Padmashree Pratap Pawar ji. To learn any traditional art requires a teacher but when a disciple finds a guru who is a tradition himself from the very beginning, then the future looks very bright. Guruji is like shining a light, like the trainees of this workshop have been enlightened.

And the music world (singing / playing / dancing) is very familiar with the work done by Guruji, who never retreats to the task of doing a selective work, this is what Guruji did 50 years ago from his Guru Padmavibhushan. Together with Pt. Birju Maharaj, which can never happen now, which we now learned in the workshop, which was both very difficult to learn and teach, because it was online rather than face to face, It was a big thing for me to learn it because in 2019 I have seen a presentation on the stage of Guruji, in which lighting was done by myself, as well as the old moving picture, which seemed to be a dream to learn, But Guruji also fulfilled that dream and created a new record, credit goes to Sunil Bhaiya and Balbir Bhaiya along with Guruji, whose work and supervision under this work was completed by putting a in a lot of effort.

At the beginning of the workshop, I was given a big responsibility by Sunil Bhaiya as an assistant to Guruji which was a big achievement for me, but I also had to learn with everyone, learning as well as supporting the material available to teach. I tried my best to get it done. This is a subject that is connected with the origin of Kathak – Katha Kahe So Kathik Kahave (storyteller), which has a story, scripture, Navaras, Panchavata etc., if seen then it is a complete Kathak dance.

What is presented by learning is as precious as drinking nectar for all trainees.

Kuldeep Dubey

‘I am immensely grateful to BSDC for providing me this wonderful and rare opportunity to interact with Guruji and Balbir ji through the BSDC Nayak Fellowship.’

Nishant Panicker