Nahid Siddiqui

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Nahid Siddiqui is one of the world’s leading kathak dancers. She infuses deep, personal artistry into the interpretation of the music and text, superbly utilising the style’s core elements - intricate hand gestures, fluid spins, and alternation between periods of calm and bursts of mathematical footwork. One writer has described her style as “Sufianic in its narrative ventures, yet precise in its embodiment of tradition”.

Kathak first caught her eye as a child, when her mother - a successful actress - started taking her to variety shows in Karachi (“the image that lingered long after was not of acting or singing, but of the visual beauty of a dance performance”). She trained under two highly esteemed gurus in the one-on-one seena ba seena system, Baba Maharaj and Birju Maharaj, and has since spent decades extending Kathak's repertoire, seeking to develop it as a “universal vocabulary”.

Now resident in the UK for over 20 years, Nahid tours and teaches around the world, and has lectured at the University of Surrey and London’s Bhavan Centre. At Darbar Festival 2019 she will explore thumri, a sensuous style from the North of India, over a score of live tabla and guitar.

"When I dance, I forget the material world. And you can only perform well if you don’t have anything to hide. Only a free soul can dance."


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