A South Korean and a Kathak dancer. It may sound strange. Noori Bak joined Kathak classes conducted by the Indian Cultural Centre in Seoul to fight depression but soon found meaning of her life in Kathak. Noori, perhaps only Kathak dancer in South Korea, says she chose Kathak because it’s the only Indian classical dance that draws from both Hindu and Islamic cultures with Central Asian influence. Kathak blends cultures, regardless of religious differences.
After learning Kathak for four years in Pakistan under Nahid Siddiqui, she came to Rajasthan and fell in love with it instantaneously.
“I always felt that my soul belongs to Rajasthan. The Thar desert, handicrafts, fresco and especially folk music and dance always fascinated me. Since my Kathak style originated from the Jaipur Gharana, I wanted to learn more about its related folk art.”
There is a verse of Rumi which says “Not only the thirsty seek the water, the water as well seeks the thirsty”.
“For me, Rajasthani music and dance is an ocean where I can quench my thirst for creativity and spirituality.”
She says: “Rajasthan is homeland of my soul. I have travelled to four countries but never found the attachment which I have with Rajasthan.
“During hard and lonely times in Iran, I listened to Rajasthani music which had such soothing effect on me that I forgot all hardships. There for the first time, I felt homesick for Rajasthan rather than South Korea.”