Q&A with Neha Munshi
CF: Who is Neha Munshi in a sentence?
NM: I am a student of North Indian classical dance form known as Kathak. I also study Flamenco dance.
CF: Tell us a bit about Kathak.
NM: Kathak is a North Indian style of classical dance and originates from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Kathak is derived from the Sanskrit word Katha which means story. In earlier times, Kathak dancers used to narrate stories from the Indian epics and perform primarily in the temples. The dance evolved as a pure entertainment form in the Royal Courts of the Mughal emperors from sixteenth century onwards. Hence, Kathak dance absorbed a variety of Persian and Central Asian influences in the Mughal courts of Northern India along with its classical Indian and folk aesthetics. The main characteristics of Kathak are graceful movements, sudden poses, intricate and rapid footwork and fast spins.
CF: How long have you been studying and what drew you to study this form of dance?
NM: I have been studying this art form intensely for more than 10 years. I was charmed by Kathak dance’s combination of graceful movements, rapid spins and fast footwork and its rich vocabulary of expression.
CF: Why is dance important in your life?
NM: Dance is important in my life as it provides creativity and beauty and discipline of practice and hard work. Dance is a movement and expression of life itself.
CF: What to you are the core values of Kathak three words?
NM: Practice. Express. Engage.
CF: Do you have any particular ritual that you carry out each day?
NM: It appears to be instinctive and not so much of a ritual as I practice something of Kathak everyday even if it is only for few minutes.
CF: I am a Dance Centre member because?
NM: It is a wonderful community which provides a forum to engage, create and inspire.
Claire French, Member Services Coordinator
Photos by Shiv Garyali