INTERNATIONAL NEWSPAPER & MAGAZINE
CHEN NAN (CHINA DAILY), 2017
Indian and Chinese artists get together to present a piece inspired by classical kathak and modern dance in Beijing, Chen Nan reports.
She spins around and around really fast with her long, black braided hair spinning in the air and her hands gesturing up and down.
"It's all about the center point. All the movements start and return to the center point of the body," gasps Mitul Sengupta, a 35-year-old Indian dancer-choreographer, who displays a movement of kathak, a major Indian classical dance form, at the theater of Beijing Dance/LDTX.
This is part of her latest choreography work, titled White Lotus - Black Sand, which will be staged at Beijing's Tianqiao Performing Arts Center on Friday and will travel to Taiyuan in Shanxi province on Monday.
The work is the first collaborative project between Rhythmosaic-Sengupta Dance Company, which was founded by Sengupta 10 years ago along with her husband, Ronnie Shambik Ghose, who graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with a major in musical theater dance, and Beijing Dance/LDTX, which was founded by Willy Tsao in 2005. Read more- http://wap.chinadaily.com.cn/2017-04/07/content_28826613.htm
ANN- MARIE WRANGE, 2016
Shortly after his participation at the dance festival Abundance in Karlstad, the skilled kathakdansösen and artistic leader of Kathak Contemporary Dance Company Dr. Mitul Sengupta to Stockholm to hold workshops and give performances. She belongs to the new generation of Indian dancers both on the exquisite classical tradition, but is also interested in contemporary dance and the modern features in their performances, just like khatakfenomenet Akram Khan. Dr Mitul Sengupta part, it is both the jazz and modern ballet. Dr. Mitul Sengupta has even helped to create a kathakversion of Swan Lake and in 2012. Publisher & Editor: Ann-Marie Wrange. Advertisement manager: Ann-Marie Wrange. Ad Bookings: tel 08-658 38 18, 998 070-3346 Fax: 08-669 01 11
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BRIAN SIEBERT, NEW YORK TIMES, 2014
" Ms. Sengupta’s traditional technique was surer, especially in the precision and counter rhythms of her footwork. Though her shapes blurred in rapid spins, her franticness was somewhat justified by the ancient story she depicted of a son sacrificing his life in war." New York Times " - Traditions Meld Deftly to the Contemporary, Erasing Borders Festival Takes a Modern Turn. BRIANSEIBERTSEPT. 7, 2014, Dance Critic , New York Times - http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/arts/dance/erasing-borders-festival-takes-a-modern-turn.html?src=twr&_r=1
CELIA IPIOTIS, EYE ON ARTS, NEW YORK, 2014
"An astonishing array of crystal clear micro movements of the hands, head and feet snapped during D. Mitul Sengupta’s presentation of an episode from the Kurukshetra War in the Mahabharata. After a blazing display of her hands and forearms crossing and opening, she rippled around the stage in a blur of fast, tight turns—moving with the speed of a Tasmanian devil an the serenity of a Buddha. - Eye on Dance, Erasing Borders Indoors Festival, 2014, NYC, USA by Celia Ipiotis - http://www.eyeondance.org/arts/archives.cfm?category=5FA605C9-5555-46DF-992EB5F4AEACF582
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SMT. LEELA VENKATRAMAN, 2017 , The Narthaki, www.narthaki.com
Rhythmosaic Sengupta Dance Company from Kolkata has earned a name for its contemporary expressions taking off from Kathak which forms Mitul Sengupta’s base style. Desolate, depicting the sorry plight of those who live on the fringes of society like the transgender was inspired by the story of Aravan from the Mahabharata. Offering to sacrifice oneself in the Kurukshetra war, the character wanting to experience all the joys of life before dying, finds that there are no takers for a transgender. Conceived by Shambik and Mitul Sengupta, the gesture of letting off the arrow very clearly articulated the character at the start. Kathak movements with chakkar and foot work with floor level contemporary movements drawn from their mixed training in Kathak, Classical Jazz, Ballet and Contemporary Dance made for varied movements. Costumes with Mitul wearing a skirt and pant, and Prasanna Saikia and Shambik Ghose in their sleeveless blouse tops and skirts, specified the transgender with actions like hand claps, very much a part of the expression of such people. The next work Skin also showed that the choreographer Shambik is drawn to themes springing from societal prejudices. Caste, creed, and just the skin tone brands people in society. Life is full of instances which force roles on people. Thus bodies switching from Contemporary body language to Kathak, act as metaphors for the difference between putting on something and then being oneself which is very different. In snatches of Kathak and expressional gestures, the compulsive stage presence of Mitul with her finished movements and communicating skills, stood out.
It is amazing how Contemporary Dance has become the flavour of dance - for the young, in particular - attracting large audiences.
LEELA VENKATRAMAN 2008, The Hindu, India
"Obviously a well trained Kathak dancer as shown by the superb clarity of footwork, it was interesting to see Mitul's torso execute graceful flowing movements, remniscent of ballet extensions, with chakkars exuding a great variety - knife- edged in clipped accuracy, pirouttes on on eleg and circling with unusual hip and shoulder movements. Mitul's experimentation registered a process". - Leela Venkatraman 2008.
Dr. SUNIL KOTHARI, 2012, India, www.narthaki.com
Mitul Sengupta, a national scholar of Kathak, has studied Kathak from Kalakriti Samskriti Foundation in New Delhi and has a doctorate in psychology. She is trained in Flamenco and Jazz and these two dancers have combined their talent in grooming a group of young dancers bringing fresh work on the contemporary stage.
Mitual is a versatile dancer exceptionally graceful, rhythmic and strong. Her Kathak has all the nazakat and khubsoorati, grace and beauty but she has imbued it with quality of jazz and sparkle. It leaves an indelible impression. Ronnie has a strong manly stance, demeanor and performs with perfection, stamina and speed. The group is well trained and they dance with zest. The title ‘White’ is only a peg around which they have choreographed dance movements which are energetic and choreographers have kept in mind the aesthetics of Kathak and western classical and contemporary dance techniques, including classical jazz, classical ballet, techniques of Jose Limon, Graham and Cunningham. Tap dance and lyrical flamenco are also interwoven. This myriad vocabulary was expressed with competence. Of course with her movements, Mitul won applause for her talent. Ronnie with his exposure to the west and tutelage under great masters displayed what he can do with Indian dance forms. Their duets, group dances, coming from one side of the stage and running to other side, had indeed a look of a contemporary dance as seen in the west, but it essentially displayed very Indian quality.
Dr. Sunil Kothari- Samakala 2012
SHYAMHARI CHAKRA, 2012, The Hindu, India
The find of the festival was, however, the presentation made by the young dancer-choreographer duo Ronnie Shambik Ghosh and Mitul Sengupta from Kolkata. With minimum number of dancers, they generated the maximum impact of the production. Distinctly different from the rest in the festival, their presentation had nothing loud about itIt was a gentle and lyrical progression.
Mitual, who often was seen alone on stage captivating the audience with her dance of intensity, spontaneity, energy and involvement, left a lasting impression on them as a dancer of rare calibre. The smallest team in the festival, led by the youngest choreographers arguably emerged as the best.
Shyamhari Chakra- Samakala 2012
SHARMILA BASU THAKUR , 2017, The Telegraph, India
The lawn of Daga Nikunj was well decorated for an evening of dance. Mitul Sengupta, a Kathak dancer, along with her troupe, Rhythmosaic Sengupta Dance Company, presented Bells of Changing Times. A part of the CIMA Awards 2017, organized by Open Doors and the Alka Jalan Foundation, it narrated the journey of Kathak from the temple abodes, through the Mughal period to contemporary times in an enjoyable manner. The show began with a Shiva tandava by the male dancers. " Shankar Girijapati", a famous dhrupad, was the perfect choice for this. After the invocatory number, the production showcased the period famous for thumri and tarana. It was lyrical and expressive. Sengupta was graceful in an aesthetically done costume and performed with élan. Her precise movements, sense of rhythm and subtlety enriched the recital. The finale was a combination of live music by Dishari Chakraborty and dance performances by Sengupta and Ronnie Shambik Ghose. First, Sengupta highlighted the similarities between Flamenco and Kathak. This was followed by a jugalbandi of Tap dance and Kathak by Ghose and Sengupta.
SHARMILA BASU THAKUR 2014, The Telegraph, India
Rhythmosaic-Sengupta Dance Company, India, and Offjazz Dance Company, France, presented Buddha: the ‘why’ within at the G.D. Birla Sabhagar on March 2. No, this wasn’t a story about the Buddha or his eight-fold path. It was an exploration of the essence of the Buddha’s guideline towards sublimation. It was a transcendental journey of love, hate, deception, aspiration and desolation. The presentation was an enquiry into one’s search for liberation. Ronnie Shambik Ghose as Barbareek, who notes everything as part of the collective human consciousness sans comment or judgement, was convincing, His movements were agile but his costume tacky. Mitul Sengupta, as Ulupi and Aravan, captivated the audience with her energetic performance. She looked attractive in a bright orange costume. The hairstyle and make-up were befitting of the roles. Prasanna Saikia (Aravan the metaphor) proved to be an asset for the troupe. The props, such as the white tree, were interesting. Oindrilla Dutt’s dramatic style of narration was praiseworthy. Yorma Loringett played the role of Arjuna. The costume was done by Swarup Dutta and Debbiee Nath Germanotta.
SHARMILA BASU THAKUR, 2013, The Telegraph, India
Weavers Studio Centre for the Arts, in collaboration with ITC Sangeet Research Academy, presented When It Rained Again, a solo kathak performance by Mitul Sengupta at SRA on July 13. In a homely ambience, Sengupta explored the magic of the rhythm and grace of this dance style based on teental. Her thaat, amad, paran and chakkar were marked by crisp footwork and neat gait. Command over rhythm and vibrant energy made her performance distinct.
SHARMILA BASU THAKUR, 2012, The Telegraph, India
Mitul Sengupta, a versatile kathak dancer, portrayed the characters of Odette and Odile convincingly through her perfect movements, delicate expressions and properly blended dance style. Her high level of energy and captivating stage presence were the central attractions of the production.
Well-performed music was another strong point of the production. Original music was composed by Dishari. Yorma Loringett played the role of Prince Siegfried. The idea of using voodoo puppets to signify the curse was apt. Prasanna Saikia as the prince’s friend proved his love for dance with grace and spontaneity. Ronnie Shambik Ghosh as Von Rothbart looked appropriate. The script and narration were suitably done by Oindrilla Dutt.
SHARMILA BASU THAKUR, 2011, The Telegraph, India
The crisp presentation marked a return to the origin of dance as an expression of human emotions and situations. As an admirer of Martha Graham, it was exhilarating to witness a composition which seemed to have some connection with the psychological base of her work. Segmented into different short pieces like Neutrality, Mixed Emotions, Passion, Greed, Sorrow and Destruction, the entire production created a magic of rhythm and movement with poise and precision. The presentation would have remained at the superficial level of merely blending two different styles had it not been for the emphasis on technique and structure. Sengupta’s performance was all about speed, clinical footwork and supple body movement, while Ghose was clean and confident in his technique and style.
Contemporary dance styles and modern techniques blended aesthetically with Kathak. Out of this was born a unique language of movement and expression. Notwithstanding Sengupta’s vivacity, liveliness and energy, a more restrained approach could have been adopted. The other performers were average. The music, though, was beautiful and it reminded the audience of the strands of Sufi folk tunes. The music was arranged by Bernard D’souza and Munnu Shaw while the script and narration were aptly executed by Oindrila Dutt. Prasanna Saikia, Amit Shaw, Subhas Bera, Amrita Moitra, Raktim Goswami, Shruti Bhowmick and Bidipta Chakraborty were the other participants.
Dr. UTPAL .K. BANERJEE, 2016, Narthaki.com
In the finale, Rhythmosaic Sengupta Dance Company from Kolkata presented Desolate – The Voices of the Trapped. It was a heroic effort to obliterate borderlines between the so-called normal beings and the trans-sexual and trans-gender person (khusras), the cross-dresser (zenanas), the eunuch (narnbans) and, in effect, all those who feel entrapped in a body alien to his/her comfortable gender. The third gender has a recorded history in the Indian subcontinent from antiquity onwards as suggested by the Kama Sutra and features a number of well-known roles within sub-continental cultures: part gender-liminal, part spiritual and part survival.
Directed by Mitul Sengupta, the group of male and female dancers – led by Mitul herself as Aravan – enacted the Mahabharata story, where before the Kurukshetra War, Aravan offers his life-blood to goddess Kali to ensure the victory of the Pandavas, and Kali agrees to grant him power. On the night before the battle, Aravan expresses a desire to get married before he dies. No woman was willing to marry a man doomed to die in a few hours, so Arjuna as Brihannala marries him. In the performance, Mitul excelled in her chakradhars and tatkars, both with and without anklets. The rest of the company was very supportive and choreographed echoes almost wailed from the deep within: “We are trapped, marginalized and utterly desolate.”
There are many barriers in our human civilization that are constantly crying out to be crossed. At one level, there are mortals who have well-defined genders and there are less fortunate ones whose genders are blurred. At another level, there are forms of cultural expressions -- like dance – which get defined by the ethos from which they have evolved and vary hugely from one land to the other. Quite often, these boundaries get so ossified that they get mistaken for God’s own handiwork or culturally too sacrosanct to be ever broken.
Dr. ANITA RATNAM, 2017, www.narthaki.com
Mitul Sengupta is evolving very quickly into a contemporary dancer to watch. With the rigour of classical jazz and contemporary dance movement, she brings to her Kathak, a flair and an edge that is riveting to watch. Let us watch her blossom and may TEAM PADME continue to bloom in their chosen fields as they move on in life!
Dr. ANITA RATNAM, 2015, www.narthaki.com
Kolkata artistes Ronnie and Mitul of Rhythmosaic were lucky that their evening of contemporary dance was the day before the deluge. BUDDHA WITHIN and SWAN LAKE REVISITED was an interesting evening of classical contemporary technique on two well trained bodies. Mitul is an excellent interpreter of Kathak and modern movement and is an artiste to watch. The flamenco sections needed more development and the potential for editing was evident. Marshaled by the keen eye of producer Oindrilla Dutt, this husband-wife duo has a positive path laid out before them.
NARTHAKI REVIEW 2016, January, Dr. ANITA RATNAM
I did have the opportunity of watching one contemporary performance in Kolkata. On a consultation visit for the Kolkata Literary Festival 2016, I had one evening free to watch the Indian-Chinese collaboration called WHITE LOTUS BLACK SAND between Rhythmosaic –Sengupta Dance Company and Beijing Dance /LDTX Company. Using Asian modern dance, Kathak and Western contemporary technique in action, this international dance exchange was brimming with promise. With the “Hindi-Cheeni Bhai Bhai” metaphor being stretched to its limits, this show has an extended touring life ahead! Politics and art enmeshed.