Amitabh Sharma, Contributor
The stage at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts, UWI Mona, Kingston, transformed into the courtyard of a temple in India, replete with the adornment and grandeur of the ancient architecture, the beats of the tabla (Indian percussion instrument, similar to bongo) coupled with the tinkling of ankle bells created by the rhythmic movement of the dancers resonated in the air.
The setting for the evening was Nrityanjali (offering of dance), a scintillating rendition of a medley of Kathak, a traditional North Indian dance form, transitioning into contemporary Bollywood-style movements.
Nrityanjali, the five-member troupe from Suriname, was in Jamaica at the invitation of the High Commission of India for performances in Kingston and Savanna-la-Mar.
"The objective of this show is to highlight the richness of the Indian culture and how it has adapted in the Caribbean," said Pratap Singh, high commissioner of India to Jamaica, on the sidelines of the show.
The crescendo was a duet, a unison of the bass, of the percussion and the treble of bells created by the rhythmic movement of the dancers' feet.
Time zones away from the land of its origin, the performances were a convergence of the artistic and subtle movements of the dancers, adorned in flowing silk costumes, in tandem with the percussion beats and vocals that transported the audience back in time.
Kathak, derived from the ancient Indian language Sanskrit - 'Katha' means to tell a story - originated from the temples and later evolved in the courtyards of the palaces in India.
"It is heartening to know that traditions brought by their forebearers (indentured workers from India) is being kept alive in its purest form," Singh said.