2018.01.12 (VT) There is nothing like devotion to keep people going. 75 year old kathak dancer, Uma Sharma recently said, “I still dance because I’m passionate about it. I don’t feel tired ever.”
Uma received a lot of attention for her adaptation of Vrindavan’s Rasa Lila, Natwari Nritya performances. Her adaptions were popular and helped her gain recognition an artist carrying on a divine tradition in superb style. She awarded the Padma Shri title in 1974, when she was only 32.
Fame however, was not smooth sailing for Uma, as her popularity led to the criticism that she was populist and Bollywood-oriented. Uma kept dancing through the ups and the downs, Her perseverance and dedication to her art led her to become a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2001.
Uma has her own dance school in Delhi and still performs on stage. She is performing today at Shankar Lal Hall, Modern School, Barakhamba. Uma will take the stage to open the 18th edition of the Swami Haridas Tansen Sangeet Nritya Mahotsav. Entry is free. The aim of the program is not to make money but to promote classical music and dance.
Performing with her are artists like sarod player Ut Ashish Khan (Ut Ali Akbar Khan’s son), Ut Amjad Ali Khan, Patiala gharana’s torchbearer Kaushiki Chakraborty, Grammy-winning Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, vocalist Shubha Mudgal and sitar player Ut Shujaat Khan, who, she says, know some of the finest older pieces. Uma wants audiences to become familiar with traditional compositions that draw the mind away from the material world into the mystical world of devotional art.
Uma Sharma’s webpage.
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