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The ISTD Leads the Way in Classical Indian Dance

The ISTD Leads the Way in Classical Indian Dance

4 October 2017

Shivaangee Agrawal reports

On 15th July the national youth dance platform U.Dance saw, for the first time, over 30 young dancers of Indian classical styles compete in the largest competition of its kind in the UK. NAVADAL, meaning ‘new shoots’, was a competition hosted by Akademi in partnership with the ISTD, in order to encourage and discover young talent across the Indian Classical dance genres. Soloists and groups performed Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Kuchipudi in front of an expert panel, for the chance to be named winners of their respective age categories. It is with great pride that we announce all three categories were won by ISTD students. 

The 11–16 solo category saw a range of performances, from those that showcased fast rhythmic sequences to those that told stories, from all parts of the traditional repertoire. 

Joanne Rose Thomas, Bharatanatyam student of Guru Priya Sundar, performed a powerful piece on the Goddess Kali. Her embodiment of the Goddess’s vengeful energy through both nritta (formal technique) and abhinaya (dramatization through facial expression and hand gesture) impressed the audience and judges, and she was announced winner of the category.

It is with great pride that we announce all three categories were won by ISTD students

Jaina Modasia, a Kathak soloist from the 17–25 category impressed the judges with her piece called In Akbar’s Palace. Commended on BBC Young Dancer earlier this year as a category finalist, Jaina brought her experience to the stage at NAVADAL with a strikingly confident performance. The judges were particularly impressed at the ease and clarity with which Jaina executed difficult technique. The competition was stiff, with a host of excellent performances that came close to professional standard and she was delighted at having won her category, thanking the patience and hard work of her Guru Sujata Banerjee. 

The group category demanded an extra dimension of performance; the judges were observing how the dancers related to one another in each performance and how ambitiously the teachers had designed the formations and dynamics of the choreography. This category was won by group Sanskriti, Bharatanatyam students of Guru Pushkala Gopal, as the judges were particularly impressed by their intention and connection. 

Of the five dance experts who were judging, Pali Chandra brought the ISTD eye to the panel and judging criteria. An internationally acclaimed exponent of Kathak, Pali is a previous committee member where she contributed towards the creation of the ISTD Kathak syllabus. 

We hope to be following the success of these young artists at the Bursary Awards where they are expected to apply, for a chance to win a considerable financial grant towards their training. We are proud of the faculty and the members for upholding an excellence in teaching that is shining through time and time again. 

Shivaangee Agrawal

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