It was a Japanese evening at the India International Centre (IIC) in New Delhi one Sunday this month.
The IIC and the Japan Foundartion jointly organised a show 'Abhinaya' which showcased Japanese talents in the Indian dance forms.
Izumi Sato, a disciple of popular Delhi based dancer-guru Saroja Vaidyanathan presented a Bharathanatyam recital.
It was folowed by a Kathak duet by Masako Sato and Kunju Bihari, both disciples of Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj.
The three Japanese dancers are recipients of the prestigious ICCR scholarships and now train under top notch gurus.
Izumi, a third year student at Saroja Vaidyanathan's Ganesa Natyalaya has been in India for the past nine years learning Bharathanatyam.
That's not all. For the better understanding of the dance form, she is also learning Carnatic vocal and mridangam!
Her guru Saroja is all in praise for her overseas disciple."The kind of sincerity and devotion that Izumi has shown is difficult to find even among Indian dance students," she says.
The multi talented Izumi who is also a trained jazz dancer, does not confine herself to the stage alone.
She is translating her guru's book 'Bharatanatyam - an In-depth study' into Japanese.
"As an anthropology student I became interested in Asian arts and culture and that's how I came to know about Bharathanatyam," says Izumi.
Explaining the reasons for her switch over from jazz to bharatanatyam she says,"Jazz seemed very boring and unmeaningful when I took up Bharathanatyam and moreover we Asians are physically not suited for western dance forms."
The commonality between the Japanese and the Indian cultures is quite fascinating to her.
Momotaro, a hugely popular Japanese folklore is nothing but our very own Ramayana which Izumi says has travelled along with Buddhism all the way to Japan.
"She has a very special interest in epics like Ramayana and that's why she chooses to perform a lot of sequences from the epic says the guru Saroja.
After the completion of her final year at Ganesa Natyalaya, Izumi is off to the School of Asian and African Studies, London to further her knowledge of the Asian culture.
But before that she has another recital at the India Habitat Centre on November 20.
Izumi Sato can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By Aruna. S