Saara Pandey is a 16-year-old Kathak Dancer, currently studying in class 11th in Bilaspur Chhattisgarh.
Saara started learning Kathak at the tender age of five.
“It is because ofthis training that I have been able to participate at the national level youth festival at this age,” says Saara.
Though most of the participants inthe competition were very senior, yet she was able to get a good position at the national fest.
Apart from studies, she is interested in music, dance, instruments, drama, and paintings. She is learning Kathak since the early under the guidance of her gurus Pt. Sunil Vaishnav and Mrs Basanti Vaishnav of Raigarh Gharana.
Saara added: “Different facets of dance fascinate me. For instance, the facial expression matters a lot in the thumri part. The perfect movement of hands along with expression is essential in gat Nikas. Other facets’, including tode, footwork, spins and Tarana, not only make dancing joy to perform but also it’s a treat to watch.” Jugalbandi is another part of the dance I enjoy, she says.
She had received many awards including Nrityakala Balratna, Nritya Pratibha, Nritya Shreshthta Puraskaar etc. She had also been awarded a junior National Scholarship by CCRT Govt. of India.
“Even though one should try other dance forms, but I have always loved to perform Kathak only because I find it more energetic and varied than other classical dance forms,” she says.
She also represented Chhattisgarh in the National Kala Utsav organised by MHRD and performed on several events organized by the government of Chhattisgarh, which includes Bhoramdev Mahotsav and the Chakradhar Samaroh.
Her gurus Pt. Sunil Vaishnav and Mrs Basanti Vaishnav of Raigarh Gharana, said: “Saara has been learning dance from us since her childhood. Participants from various parts of the country were professionals and to match their standards and winning this position at the national level was a tough job.”