24

SATURDAY

The rift between India’s Muslim and Hindu populations is centuries old, but as the two groups continue to battle, people in other parts of the world are discovering an enduring symbol of a time when the two groups got along: Kathak. The art form, whose origins can be traced back about 1,000 years, is the only Indian dance that incorporates both Islamic and Hindu elements. Kathak dance is characterized by its unique footwork, spins, gestures, and the tinkling sound of the tens of bells worn around the dancers’ ankles. Practicing the hybrid moves probably won’t bring religious harmony to the war-weary state of Gujarat, but anything that melds the two cultures—even if it comes in the form of rhythmless Westerners comically trying to emulate the ancient movement—has got to be a good thing. The Kathak Dance Class for Dancers begins at 10 a.m. at the Sackler Gallery’s Second Level Classroom, 1050 Independence Ave. SW. $15. For reservations call (202) 357-4880 (ext. 422). (Sarah Godfrey)