Nahid Siddiqui is one of the finest Kathak dancers and choreographers in the world. Her work has been recognized and acclaimed internationally. She has personally contributed hugely to the growth of and accessibility to Kathak through efforts such as starting classes at the Bharatya Vidya Bhavan in London and introducing Kathak into the curriculum at the at the University of Surrey. Nahid's creations have been original and ground-breaking, blending traditional and contemporary techniques extending Kathak's repertory and developing it as a universal vocabulary. Nahid has lived in the West Midlands for almost twenty years and has had countless students, performances for major venues, festivals and television world-wide. Her work has received numerous accolades in Britain and around the world, including Pakistan's highest artistic merit, the Pride of Performance.
Nahid Siddiqui has acquired her artistry in the formal tradition of seena baseena (one-on-one training) by two renowned Gurus: Maharaj Ghulam Hussain Kathak and Pandit Birju Maharaj. During the course of her career she has evolved her artistic practice into what can be described as Sufianic in its narrative ventures, yet precise in its embodiment of tradition.
Established in 1991, Nahid Siddiqui & Company have mounted sixteen productions and toured world-wide since then. Nahid continues to create work of the highest quality and depth extending the boundaries of the form and vocabulary; as a choreographer and soloist she breathes contemporary life into a classical dance style. The company has strong relations with the West Midlands Arts Board and Arts Council of England, from where it receives project funding. The ethos of her unique company has been to both train and choreograph its dancers. Her sixteen critically acclaimed productions have been seen internationally at reputed venues including her most recent collaboration with the Royal Ballet.
Performances and educational outreach programs such as workshops, master classes and residencies ensure accessibility to this dance form, especially for those who have little or no previous exposure to this or any other dance form. Such programs have enabled Nahid to pass on knowledge, technique and creative skills to local dancers and musicians who often have become core company members for a number of years and have subsequently developed their own dance companies.
Music & Creative Director
Nahid Siddiqui & Company's productions have toured nationally(UK) and internationally; they are held in high esteem by those within the arts world and audiences globally. Nahid has been teaching in Britain since 1984, and is therefore able to use her own trained students in her choreographies. She conceives and envisions, and is fully involved in all aspects of the creation and the production of a piece. Nahid brings new concepts and treatments to the modern stage, combining contemporary choreography and design with style imbibed with Kathak nuances. The company's uncompromising vision and homage to art, original musical score, and progressive design aesthetics speak and relate to a broad cross-section of cultures and preferences. The company's audiences have grown as Nahid's own work has developed. The subject matter relates to spirituality, aspects of Nature, and abstractions on the Rhythmic aspects of Indian classical music as well as the Mughal influences on Kathak.
Productions by Nahid Siddiqui & Company
to date are as follows:
Krishna(for the Birmingham Royal Ballet) - 2004
Nahid also was honored the privelage of working in collaboration with the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the first time any dancer of Asian origin has been asked to do so. Nahid choreographed a performance entitled Krishna for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, with music composed by Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia. There has been no such collaboration between Kathak and Ballet in the history of dance. Krishna opened on the 24th of September at Sadlers's Wells, London and toured Britain. This was actually a follow up to "Sharing..." with Ballet Mistress Marion Tait, or rather, an excavation of similarities between Ballet and Kathak.
Dhyana - 2003
Dhyana is the discovery of the greater self through steady awareness. It is the art of self study, observation, reflection and revelation of the infinite hidden within. As a result of this meditation, arrogance, pride, and ego are transformed and transfigured towards humility and innocence which leads to Samadhi - the ultimate enlightenment. Inspired and informed by this philosophy, Dhyana addresses the urgent need to spread peace in our chaotic world.
Scene Unseen - 2002
Scene Unseen depicts the four elements - Fire, Air, Water and Earth are present both within and around us. In order to merge with the cosmos it is vital that we love and embrace these elements, both internally and externally.
Once Upon A Time - 2000
Gypsies adopted Kathak and this was the basis of Flamenco. Once Upon A Time explores the history and culture of Rajasthan which has expanded through the gypsies all over the world.
Sharing with the Birmingham Royal Ballet - 1999
Marion Tait from the Birmingham Royal Ballet and Nahid performed an experimental piece exploring the similarities and meeting point of Kathak and Ballet.
My Motherland? - 1999
My Motherland is a partly auto-biographical piece, exploring the struggle of a woman to position herself in the artistic worlds of the East and the West. My Motherland is dedicated to the gifted dancer Jahanara Akhlaq, a cherished student and long standing member of the company. Jahanara died on the 18th of January 1999.
Parchayyian - 1999
Parchaiyan (Shadows), features solos and duets showcasing a range of moods and skills embodying all three aspects of classical dance - Bhava (mood), Raga (melody) and Tala (rhythmic timing). Performed by two of the company's young dancers, Parchaiyan shows off the rich dramatic mime, delicacy and grace of Kathak.
Taxila - 1998
Taxila in Pakistan is the worlds oldest heritage and holds the remains of three ancient civilizations, each buried in turn by time. This piece explores the roots of spirituality and community and echoes the steps of Alexander the Great, Buddha and Christ, all of who have left their presence throughout the ruins.
Prism - 1997
Prism is inspired by the interaction and interdependence of water, colour and light and their effect on our thoughts and feelings to create a visually stunning dance piece.
Rung - 1995 - 1996
Rung (Colour) celebrates the mystical union of a Saint and his disciple exemplified through the work of Hazrat Amir Khusrau, a sufi saint, poet, scholar and musicologist who invented the tabla and sitar.
Dancing in Mist - 1994
This production is based on the Fakirs (Sufis) of Punjab who intoxicated through their firm belief and focus on the creator dance endlessly. Through their dance (Dhamaal) they forget their physical element and connect Creator.
Tihai - 1993
Tihai is a term referring to a musical phrase that is repeated three times. Tihai is based on Sufism exploring the works of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi. The choreography was based on the dance of the Whirling Dance philosophy of Rumi.
Timecycle - 1992
In this piece Tala (time cycle) is related to life cycle exploring human emotions, relationships as well as the on-going rhythms of nature and the cycle of life from birth to old age. Timecycle uses a traditional dance form to portray a contemporary understanding of the many flowing timecycles under the unified influence of which we live and create. Timecycle tells the story about the paradox of time-infinite and elusive, measured and relative.
Visions of Khusrau - 1991
This piece explores the different aspects of the art of Hazrat Amir Khusrau, the sufi saint poet and musicologists contributions of the Poetry styles of Ghazal, Tarana, and Keh Mukarnian.
Mughal Court - 1991 - present day
Kathak was reshaped in the 15th century when India was ruled by the Mughals, their influence spreading across all aspects of life. This piece displays the traditional range of Kathak, incorporating storytelling and complex cross rhythms. Mughal Court has been described by audiences as a total hymn to Kathak dance.