Gaurav Bhatti, winner of the primary Dr. Sunil Kothari Award for Emerging Artist, says the honour has strengthened his perception within the artwork

Dry leaves blow in by the window and the dancer swirls, portraying the moods of autumn, even because the digicam captures his intricate footwork and expressions. ‘Khidki se… Hemant’ is the most recent work by Gaurav Bhatti, the primary recipient of the Dr. Sunil Kothari Award for Emerging Artist-2021. A Kathak dancer with the Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company – The Drishtikon Foundation, Bhatti has traversed inventive areas in Canada and India to deepen his dance explorations.

“When I started working on the piece, I was thinking about the dried leaves and changing colours during the fall in Canada and the autumn in Delhi. Everything was uncertain during the pandemic. The images of the dead translated into a metaphor for the dried, dead leaves,” says Gaurav, speaking about his award-winning work. The that means of the work shifted as he labored by the textual content, together with his experiences, and observing the grim scenario round him.

“Through the pandemic we were looking at the world through our windows, locked in our homes, and we were also seeing the world through the window of our phones. For me, the entire world turned upside down. For many, there wasn’t even the possibility of seeing their loved ones and saying a final goodbye.”

Dealing together with his personal private loss, together with his grandfather passing away, Bhatti interpreted the piece on the season ‘autumn’ because the cycle of breath, life, loss of life and renewal. He was mentored by eminent dancer Gauri Diwakar and the poetry for the composition was penned by Rachna Yadav.

Brought up in Punjab and Canada, Kathak was by no means a straightforward selection for the rising artiste. For a very long time as a teen and younger grownup, Bhatti struggled to share his dance aspirations together with his household. “I belong to a conventional family and I was afraid my parents would find it very hard to accept that their son—a Punjabi boy, wanted to take up classical dance as a profession.” While his dad and mom wished him to review science, he discovered a center path by choosing a visible arts course.

His tryst with Kathak started by likelihood. Besotted by the dance type whereas observing a category in progress, his feminine associates dragged him to strive it out with them. “The class had people who had been training for over 10-12 years, and just for fun I was asked to try out the routines and I was astonished by how engrossed and complete I felt while dancing.” The teen started to study secretly twice per week.

Emerging as a finalist in a expertise actuality present on tv in Canada in 2013-14 catapulted him from the shadows to a critical journey in dance. “My parents finally started realising that even though this may be a career where stability is a challenge, I should be allowed to pursue my true passion.”

He learnt from Saveeta Sharma in Ottawa, and travelled to India, studying with gurus Lata Bakalkar in Mumbai and Aditi Mangaldas in Delhi, the place he settled into the rigour of riyaaz and immersive coaching and efficiency.

Innovating with Kathak

The award, instituted by the Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company—The Drishtikon Foundation, within the reminiscence of dance scholar and critic, Dr. Sunil Kothari, is Bhatti’s first main classical dance accolade. The younger dancer remembers assembly Dr. Kothari on the younger artiste baithaks in Delhi and located inspiration from his strategies to experiment. “I remember him smiling and full of energy, he always inspired young artistes to explore and bring freshness to dance, to be bold and creative. I have tried to do that with my work, and I wish I could have had the chance to share this with him.”

The award has been instituted at an important juncture, when younger artistes, within the absence of bodily performances and private coaching, have been making an attempt laborious to maintain up their spirit and practise. Such initiatives will assist them discover their very own area within the digital medium and proceed with their inventive pursuits.

Bhatti believes it is very important assume deeply in regards to the type, proceed coaching rigorously, and try one’s personal interpretations to form your journey. His subsequent work revisits an earlier manufacturing on Sufi saint Bulleh Shah’s verses. “I was born and raised in Punjab and relate deeply with his work,” says Bhatti. “I want to re-interpret and add layers to my earlier work and dance in his garden of spirituality.”

Bhatti believes that evolving with the dance type to search out your personal inventive voice is really necessary. “My gurus have inspired me to keep questioning, find new ways of expressing creativity. People might love it or hate it, but one must have the courage to dance your own dance, to express your truth.”

The writer is a Delhi-based arts researcher and author.



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