DANCE is my language, friend, identity, reflection, strength, medium
and my consciousness.
Kathaks Improvisational character draws me. Every moment of the dance has its own innate beauty and enjoyment speed,rhythm,grace, expression It reflects all the colours of life.
Most people dream and then there are the few who give concrete shape to their dreams. In 1984 Vaswati Misra, an exponent of Kathak, choreographer and teacher started to give shape to her dream. With no financial support, but with the good wishes of friends and family she founded Dhwani, a center for the performing arts. She chose the name with care. Commonly taken to mean sound, for her, the meaning was definitely "In which the implied is more striking than the expressed"The meaning reflected perfectly her approach to both choreography and performance.
Many treated it as her whim sure that it would remain a project on paper. What else could it be? She was a dancer, as was her husband, and there was no money. Today, 20 years later, she is still a dancer, as is her husband and there is still no money. But, today there is Dhwani
Vaswatis love for dance began as a young child when she watched her older sister Saswati learning Kathak. Vaswati herself joined the prestigious school of dance, Kathak Kendra , at the age of 7. Here she received training in this dance form ,first under the tutelage of Smt Reba Vidyarthi and then had the good fortune to be groomed by the great Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj. An immensely talented dancer, by the age of ten Vaswati was already performing on stage. She played the leading role of Sita, in the production katha raghunath ki. At the age of fourteen
It was at the Kathk Kendra that Vaswati met, Krishna Mohan Misra , the eldest son of kathak maeastro Pandit Shambhu Maharaj and cousin of Pandit Birju Maharaj. Marriage followed and Vaswati , then only 18 ,took the first step that would lead many years later, to the founding of Dhwani.
Performing both as a solosist as well as with her husband, dancer,
Krishan MohanMisrashe was acclaimed both for her command over the technique of the dance form as well as her expressive qualities
In 1979 Smt Sumitra Charat Ram, offered her the post of teacher, at her school, the Sri Ram Bharatiya Kala Kendra. It was here that she started to evolve a teaching methodology that was uniquely hers and also for the first time started to choreograph. As guest choreographer for the SBKKrepertory she soon developed an intensely original style.
These works she choreographed for them includes:
- Shaan e mughal
Eventually feeling the need to find a platform to present her choreography, the way she wanted, she founded Dhwani...
"Choreography for me is like donning a new dress.
Like a snake, shedding its skin and finding itself in a new body
Every new work is a re birth that allows me to feel I am starting life afresh, and each time, I walk into a new world"
In 1984, she registered Dhwani under the Indian societies act and in 1986 presented Rasaarchana , a three day Kathak festival in the memory of her late father in law Pandit Shambhu Maharaj"
a few students, who today form the core of the Dhwani repertory,
simultaneously she started to experiment with choreography for schools
and creating works for children who had either very little or no
dance training. Among her most successful productions for children
have been the works
- Malgudi Days
- Aakhir Kyun
- Sadak Ke
She also choreographed dances for the republic day parade and her
work Mukhauta Vichitra , involving children from five schools was
awarded a prize. She has also worked with differently abled children.Even
though her work was hampered as she could not sustain a permanent
repertory because she lacked funds and did not have a permanent
space for rehearsals, the body of her choreography continued to
grow by leaps and bounds.Some of her most spectacular works, like
Tateel, Udgam, Kaun hai, Urmila and Kanupriya were choreographed
at this time.
In 1989, she accepted an offer from her alma mater as post of kathak guru. Returning to the Kathak Kendra , this time as a teacher, was a matter of pride. A recognition of her position in the world of kathak . Dance grammar and improvisation were the two pillars she based her teaching style upon and she was getting spectacular results from her students. She was choreographing works that presented an extremely traditional form of dance in new and exciting ways.
In 1997 she resigned from the Kathak Kendra and two years later, combining her passion for performance and education she set up an arts education center, the Pandit Shambhu Maharaj Kathak Academy as a the educational wing of Dhwani. Receiving recognition from the Govt of India, in the form of a salary grant she was finally able to maintain a repertory on a permanent basis. Dhwani continued to grow with the additions of Zaroorat a school for the underprivileged as well as with,Bhaav a school of theatre
Today, Vaswati continues to perform, teach and choreograph. She now dreams of a permanent home for Dhwani and for an auditorium to showcase the work of the Dhwani repertory.
While choreographing works mainly for her own company Vaswati also choreographs for schools and other groups. For more information on this aspect of her work
Contact Vaswati at :
Park, New Delhi - 110019. (INDIA)
Mobile: Ms. Vaswati Misra – 91- 98100 64697