Ascending the stage: Leila Khan dance debut hosted by Guru Sheema Kermani

Leila made her stage dance debut with her first ever solo recital at the Alliance Francaise last Saturday

Nadia Faisal

KARACHI: Over the years devoting countless hours to practices and gruelling after-school sessions, this is the debut recital Leila Rasul Khan has been studying and training for her while she was still a toddler.

An outstanding student of Karachi Grammar School Leila who is presently completing her ’A’ Levels, started learning the technique, tradition & etiquette of various forms and discipline of classical dance at the age of six.

A student of Sheema Kermani ever since, Leila gradually mastering the intricate footsteps, hand gestures, neck movements and symbolic eye glances of each form including Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kathak is now as a confident, disciplined young woman — makes her debut on stage as a solo artist.

Proud to present the ‘Arangetram’ of her student of over 12 years, Kermani explains the solo debut recital is no small undertaking for neither the student, their family nor the guru. Perhaps the very first to have ever taken place in the country, the debut recital is essentially like a graduation ceremony adds Kermani as she presents Leila for her 1st solo act on stage.

Studying anywhere from eight to 12 years before teacher(guru) deems the student is ready,  ‘Arangetram’ according to the seasoned dancer basically heralds the coming of age of a young student ready to blossom into an accomplished dancer.

In keeping with the subcontinental tradition, the solo recital is always based on the complete and entire repertoire of the classical Bharatanatyam, concludes Kermani who has been among the very few performers and teachers of the ancient art form locally for decades.

Over the years, juggling school obligations and extracurricular activities with long gruelling practice sessions, Leila is thrilled to perform her ‘Arangteram’ after 12 years of hard work and plans to remain in the tutelage of her guru Sheema Kermani. Speaking about her debut performance encompassing the hundreds of movements, gestures, expressions and footwork, Leila says the evening starting with Pushpanjali ends with Tarana to highlight the many dimensions of the ancient dance form that she has learnt from her Guru over the years.

Leila Rasul Khan,  performing extensively as a part of Sheema Kermani’s dance & theatre troupe, made her stage dance debut with her first ever solo recital at the Alliance Francaise last Saturday.