Indrani Datta is a specialist in Kalka Bindadin Gharana of Kathak which hails from Lucknow. It is led by legendary Pandit Birju Maharaj and his disciple Vidushi Saswati Sen at Kalashram in Delhi. She is also a legal professional within an in-house counsel team for an international law firm. 

This year has been a year of collaborations. I have been exploring the Kathak repertoire from various aspects. This winter I became the first classical Indian dancer in London to perform live since the lockdown in the city. Live performance even with no audience was very special after so many months away from the stage”.

More than one job

During the lockdown Indrani continued to focus on her dance and her legal work. “The venue has changed for both. I have been working from home and also performing and teaching from home. Various shoots are taking place within my home studio and also in outdoor locations. Hence, I am learning about the technical aspects of creating content within my repertoire. This year has made me dig deeper and unearth the treasure that lies within arts. Dance, music and songs are key to my repertoire and teaching. I am researching, teaching and learning on specific areas to bring more depth and breadth to my work”. 

Various ways

Together with her collaborators Indrani found various ways to connect with the audience. “I’ve been interviewed to share my story, I interviewed maestros about their arts and created performances that are live and pre recorded. The feedback that I received confirms that all these methods are working to engage with the audience in a meaningful way. I have also enjoyed making a series of readings to mark cultural celebrations.”

What Indrani will leave behind in 2020 is unnecessary social media and last minute shopping trips. “This year has been all about what I do have in life and I am grateful for my family and teachers in UK and in India. They have brought a richness to my life that I only truly realized this year. They have taught me so much with regard to dance, my heritage, Indian history, British history, music, arts, and film. Creating new work becomes a joy when I reflect on what has been shared with me by these great teachers this year.” 

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