Firehall Arts Centre
Khoj:A Contemporary Kathak Dance Extravaganza

When and Where September 21– 24, 2022 at 7:30pm | Firehall Arts Centre,280 East Cordova Street, Vancouver

Artistic Director and Choreographer Usha Gupta Dramaturge Brian Webb Composer Praveen D Rao Lighting Design Dorrie Deutschendorf

Reviewer Nancie Ottem

The Firehall Arts Centre is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the 2022-2023 season. A remarkable achievement in Vancouver's cultural arts scene. The Firehall Arts Centre has stayed the course offering thought provoking and cutting-edge entertainment that has kept supporters coming back season after season.

Khoj – A Contemporary Kathak Dance Extravaganza has the honour of starting off the 40th season and an extravaganza it is. Kathak dance is a traditional form of Indian dance from northern India with its roots in the travelling bards of ancient India who told stories through their dance. Usha Gupta, artistic director of The Usha Gupta Dance Entourage, is also a storyteller who uses her choreography to impart inspiration she finds in everyday events.

The Usha Gupta Dance Entourage is finishing a Canadian tour with their engagement at The Firehall Arts Centre. The five dancers bring an extensive depth of experience in the Kathak style of dance to the stage. A demanding style requiring coordinated movement from all parts of the body, from precise hand and arm movement to the controlled foot work that is mesmerizing. Combined with traditional music by composer Praveen D Rao, it is hypnotic.

The word Khoj means search or enquiry. Khoj - A Contemporary Kathak Dance Extravaganza featured seven pieces which explored themes through the discipline of the Kathak dance form. There is a respectful spirituality in the Kathak dance form that is evident in the body language of the dancers. Colourful costumes, hand clapping and stomping of feet, twirling, bells and recitation of words, all against the backdrop of traditional Indian music is a riveting experience

© 2022 Nancie Ottem