A celebration of kite flying is coming to Newcastle

Published: 7 February 2022
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Kattam Katti

Kattam Katti, a dance celebration from Pagrav Dance Company of the Uttarayan kite festival in India, in which literally millions of people compete to fly their kite higher than anybody else, is coming to Dance City.

Every January, millions of people from different cities, religions and social classes come together to fly kites in a unique event marking the transition from winter into spring. Whilst it is a joyous event, Uttarayan is also ruthlessly competitive. The aim is to fly your kite higher than anybody else's. Competitors coat their kite strings with glass pigment which, while beautiful on the surface, will cut the strings of other kites. Wounds to participants are not unknown and penthouse-owning rich people make full use their advantages by launching their kites from high rooftops.

Kattam Katti (Cutting Through), created by Urja Desai Thakore, draws parallels with society's inequalities in India, the UK and around the world.

Performed by a new generation of British dancers of Indian heritage, accompanied by live musicians who collectively illustrate the highs, lows, loves and losses of lives that are lived out among the festivities, Kattam Katti is suitable for all ages and backgrounds.

“Today there are many deeply divided societies around the world,” said Thakore. “I used kite flying and the festival as a metaphor for the inequalities of privilege I see in those societies and in the corporate world. It is also based on my personal observations of the festival and Gujarati heritage in general. I hope that by addressing such universal themes in this way we can introduce Asian dance to new audiences from diverse cultures.”

After premièring with two sold-out nights at Sadler's Wells, Kattam Katti is coming to Newcastle's Dance City on 5 March as part of a national tour. Tickets are £13.50, £11 concs, £8 students.

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