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Monday, April 30, 2018

Indian Amigurumi Series: Mala the Kathak Dancer

Continuing with interpreting the classical dances of India using amigurumi toys. This time, Kathak!
I was born in Uttar Pradesh and was exposed to Kathak from a very early age. My Mom and cousin sister were trained in Kathak as children and I took Kathak lessons too as a child. Although I remember next to nothing now. I attended many kathak performances when I was young and was always amazed by the beautiful footwork. Kathak is very much like tap dance and the ghunghroos(anklets)  really are effective in letting the audience know how beautiful the rhythms are when the dancers move their feet in time with the different rhythms and patterns.

The hand gestures are relatively simpler and there is not too much of waist movement in Kathak. It's all about the rhythm and the footwork.
Like all my dolls, I started with some exploratory sketches for this and I am sharing one of them here:

The costume in Kathak is not a modification of the Sari. So in that way it is different from the clothes I have designed for my dancers so far. It is more of a Kalidaar Kurti (almost like a flared dress) worn with Churidaar and Dupatta. I also wanted to really do the anklets/ghunghroos to look as close to really ghungroos as possible so used strings of beads wrapped around to get a similar effect.It was tricky to get the Dupatta to wrap around her head as I wanted so had to do multiple passes on that. In the end I had to do the standard amigurumi sphere shape and only work it till the half point. So I got a hemisphere which I stitched over her hair. I did the other elements of the head covering separately and then assembled them together. This was the cleanest way of doing it. I did try initially to do one whole piece of crochet and have it go around her back and do the 'V' shape in front of her torso but it was getting very complicated and I was ending up with lot of lumpy wool everywhere. Hence, my fragmented approach.



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