Nahid Siddiqui: Stories of Thumris

Sun 24 November, 07:00 PM, Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler's Wells

Session 1

Nahid Siddiqui is one of Europe’s leading kathak dancers. Kathak's roots in physical storytelling are still visible today - exponents are masters of mime, transforming into peacocks, demons, and many-faced gods at a moment’s notice. Siddiqui utilises the style’s fluid spins, intricate hand gestures, and periods of calm, punctuating them with bursts of densely mathematical footwork.

Thumri is a sensuous ‘light classical’ style from Uttar Pradesh drawing from folk tales and medieval poetry. The word is derived from the Hindi ‘thumakna’, meaning ‘to walk with dancing steps so as to make the ankle-bells ring’. The evening will feature silken Hindustani music provided by vocals, sitar, and Sanju Sahai’s tabla.

In the words of Akram Khan, who is curating Darbar Festival’s 2019 dance program, “there’s something universal about narratives from ancient Indian history – the grand themes, the shared myths, the flawed deities. Indian dancers place themselves in the shoes of gods as well as mortals...you should feel like you’re all learning together rather than being taught”.

Photo credit: Simon Richardson

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