ISLAMABAD: Disciples of renowned classical dancer, Indo Mitha, spellbound the audience with their performance at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) late on Friday.The National Performing Arts Group (NPAG) of the PNCA also presented a dance in the pure form of Bharatanatyam, the most authentic classical dance form in the South Asia, to present a creative visualisation of the contemporary life.The dance was performed by Amna Mawaz, Nasir Masih, Suhail Hussain, Sahira Kazmi, Sehrish Aslam, Sumbal Arshad, Javed Waris, Fouzia malik, Nazish Farooq, Fayyaz Khan, Amir Yousnas, Adnan Masih, Nayab Zahra, and Fahim Khan.The lead performer and choreographer of the ‘barzakh’ was Aman Mawaz. She said the ‘barzakh’ was a tale of the ups and downs of life.Bharatanatyam is a major genre of Indian classical dance that originated in Tamil Nadu. Traditionally, Bharatanatyam is a solo dance that is performed exclusively by women. The Bharatanatyam provides a base for various type of dances in the South Asia.Bharatanatyam’s theoretical foundations trace to the ancient Sanskrit text by Bharata Muni. Its existence by 2nd century CE is noted in the ancient Tamil epic Silappatikaram. Temple sculptures of 6th to 9th century CE suggest it was a well refined performance art by the mid of the 1st millennium CE. Bharatanatyam may be the oldest classical dance tradition of Indian subcontinent.Indo Mitha is a versatile dance guru. She has promoted Bharatanatyam for decades in Pakistan. He disciples are practicing this art form all over the country. One of her talented disciples is Amna Mawaz. Indo Mitha has groomed several young women at the Mazmoon-e-Shauq School as well. They also took part in the farewell dance performance by Indo Mitha along her students. Nazish Farooq, one of the performers of the ‘barzakh’, said: “It is the first time that the NPAG members performed contemporary dance in mixed form of classical and folk format. It a style of expressive dance that combines elements of several genres. It requires more movement and expression. It was a challenge for us.”Sehrish Aslam, another NPAG performer, said the experience had been unique. “Dance has always inspired me. My family did not approve of this profession in the start, but with time they accepted who I am,” he said.Sumbal Arshad said that it was an honour to perform with the legendry Indo Mitha.PNCA Director General Syed Jamal Shah said that he wished the best to Indo Mitha on her last performance of her dance career.She has contributed a great chapter in the history of performing arts in Pakistan. He said the dance is a significant part of the arts that needs more promotion and support. The artistes of the NPAG have travelled abroad many times including their recent visit to China. Their performances promote Pakistan’s cultural face in across the globe. Published in Daily Times, August 13th 2017.