ISLAMABAD - Eminent French Kathak dancer and choreographer, Isabelle Anna, is here to perform pure Kathak and her experimental work of Kathak with a blend of western music, a rare treat for Kathak lovers.

During her visit to Pakistan she will perform at Pakistan National Council of Arts on Wednesday (today) for the time and hold dance workshops for the dance students. The French Alliance in Islamabad, the French Embassy in Pakistan, facilitated an interactive session with journalists in the capital on “Dance: a bridge across Europe and South Asia, French Origins, Kathak Passion”

She thought performing here in Pakistan will be a challenge for her and she will have to push herself to the limits. ‘ Its not only a simple performance, it’s a communion, and understanding, if I am able to share my feelings with the audience and make them understand, its my success’.

Though so far she has not met with the Pakistani Kathak performers, she showed her interest to be in touch with them. “I have heard a lot about Nahid Siddiqui. But I have not been able to meet anyone and I feel this gap.”  

Though she specialised in Kathak but other genre of performing arts like drama, piano, western dance and music, ballet dance have been part of her training.  ‘ Being born and brought up in an environment where everyone was doing one of the forms of performing arts I started learning Bharata Natyam at the age of five. Along with a solid musical training, I studied Ballet and Drama till university where I developed my interest in Literature and foreign languages’.

In 1998, she discovered Kathak dance and developed a passion for this art. ‘ I found it a complete art form that puts together everything.

It has also links with other cultures also. I felt it is my destiny’. 

She will perform pure Kathak and a Kathak performance on French music too. She believed Kathak has links with cultures of other parts of the world like Spain because of invasions and political background. ‘ The origin of Sarangi is found somewhere else and you have the same footwork in Kathak as in Flamenco’.  

Sharing her experience of a workshop in Bangladesh she said she met with three Kathak dancers and they all were from different background, religion having different ways of feeling but ‘only one thing was common and that was Kathak. ‘We all had the same passion’. 

Recipient of several scholarships she pursued her studies in New Delhi, ‘Kathak Kendra’ and completed training with Tabla, Yoga and Vocal under the direction of Pandit Jaikishan Mahraj, son of Pandit Birju Maharaj.

In 2003, the Scholarship for Choreographic Studies by the French Ministry of Culture allowed her to carry in-depth research on the origins of Kathak and choreographies using Kathak as a medium of expression on Western Music, reflecting its ancient links with other cultures.

‘From 2003 to 2010, I taught Kathak at the French School (New Delhi) and collaborated on educational projects, and since 2007 to disabled children of Inspiration Centre. I have also conducted many workshops in France, Italy, and UK, to promote the Kalka-Bindadin Gharana. In 2007, I created Kaleidans’Scop, her dance company.”