Pakistani dancer introduces Kathak to Danish students

kathak

Jannat Ali, a professional Kathak dancer and a transgender activist, has been running a workshop called ‘Gender and Society’ at schools all over Denmark for three weeks .
According to a statement released by the Danish embassy, Jannat Ali, a transwoman from Pakistan, is a professional Kathak dancer and a transgender activist who advocates for human rights. The purpose of this specific workshop is to get students to reflect upon their own gender and gender norms in Denmark and Pakistan.
Sounds of Pakistani Kathak rhythms resonnate from the speakers and 35 students move from one side of the Danish classroom to the other. Most of them smile broadly and are trying hard to move like Jannat Ali, who elegantly introduces them to a dance they have never seen before.
“Dance is a powerful tool. I use dance as a form of activism to tell about transgender life and conditions,” Jannat Ali said to the students while conducting a workshop. She held the workshops together with Pakistani artist Imram Sana, Danish gender activist Elias Magnild and dancer and choreographer Sara Armstrong.
“Today I found out that there are many kinds of gender,” one of the students said. By the end of each workshop the students made their own performances and expressed their perspectives on gender.
Speaking about the objective of this initiative funded by the government of Denmark, Ambassador of Denmark to Pakistan, Ole Thonke said “The government of Denmark strongly believes that provision and protection of equal rights is the foundation of building a fair and tolerant society. To achieve that, it is important to discuss how norms are created and broken, of which people such as Jannat Ali are great examples.”
Ambassador Thonke said that such interactions and dialogue are important, as it not only provides young Danish students the opportunity to get a broader understanding of identity and gender but also creates an opportunity to promote arts and culture from other countries such as Pakistan.
The workshop is part of Centre for Culture and Development’s (CKU) educational youth program funded by the government of Denmark that annually hosts between 4 and 7 different educational workshops that tour Danish schools and youth institutions.
The program that introduces young people in Denmark to arts and culture from countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle has been running since 2010. Through the program, artists from African, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries meet and work with young Danes aged 13–18 in classrooms, youth clubs and cultural institutions across Denmark.



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