When Kathak and tap dance combine

Updated: Jan 29, 2012, 19:18 PM IST

New Delhi: In an unique combination of the Western and Indian, Kathak exponent Pt Chitresh Das and American tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith have collaborated to perform a fusion of the two dance forms.

Das - popularly known as the fastest feet in rhythm - and Smith have been performing India Jazz Suites, a jugalbandi of Kathak and tap, at various venues abroad and also in India.

"It is easy to fuse Kathak and tap dance as foot work is the mainstay in both dance forms. Among Western dance forms, both tap and flamenco go well with Kathak and I like the challenge of fusing a pure traditional Indian dance form with a western one," Das told PTI.

The dancing duo are currently in India touring six cities including Mumbai and Hyderabad. Their performance also combines Indian and Western music which aides their act.

"For the Kathak bit we have used the tabla and harmonium while for tap there are drums and base guitar. The performance is all about an exchange between two artistes and art forms," he said.

Das, who has been teaching Kathak in the US for over four decades now, said that collaborations like these are important in order show the versatility of traditional dance forms and lure young minds towards them.

"It is important to show that pure traditional Kathak can be performed alongside a western dance form like tap. Such collaborations help connect with the youth," said Das.

Emmy award winner Smith, whose credits include a guest performance on `So You Think You Can Dance` and various jazz dance festivals, said this is his first brush with an Indian dance form but he is open to collaborate with others.

"I came to know about Indian dance forms from Panditji and have tried to incorporate the nuances of Kathak into tap dance. Audiences here pay attention to details and our performances have received tremendous response. I am open to collaborating with more Indian dance forms in the future," said Smith.

PTI