Kathak dancer Asha Hossain's interest in dance began in her early childhood. Though she belongs to a conservative family, there were no hurdles in her way to pursue her passion for dance. “My family never barred me from dancing. They always encouraged me. Of course I get the most support from my elder sister, who is my idol.”
“I first studied at Jessore Shishu Academy. After my SSC, I came to Dhaka and gained admission in Nrityanchal. Since then, I have never looked back. I received an ICCR scholarship after my HSC and went to Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata.”
Asha did her Honours and Master's from Rabindra Bharati University with a major in Kathak. She is now doing PhD in Bangladeshi folk dance. Beside her expertise in Kathak, she wants to uphold Bangladeshi dance forms. “I have a strong drive to uphold our cultural heritage using my knowledge and expertise in the field of dance,” says Asha.
In addition to her higher studies, she also performs regularly with her school Nataraj Music and Dance Academy. Asha frequently does choreography as well. Since dance is her first love, Asha's interest lies in all forms of dance.
“Dance speaks a universal language as beats and rhythms are the same irrespective of time and place. The way we dance in Bangladesh is same as in Kolkata. My guruji in Kolkata never told me that my style was different from theirs. But they lay more emphasis on theoretical knowledge. My way of dancing, patterns and styles have evolved over the years and I grew as an artiste. But my foundation was laid in Jessore in my childhood.”
Asha loves Kathak more than any other dance form. “I think Kathak is graceful. I love Chakkar and Tatkar. I have a fascination for Kathak movements, dress, lehenga, angarakshak. Kathak means telling tales through dance. It has different patterns as Kathak has evolved a great deal. I love its beats and rhythms. Rhythm is everywhere. When you clap your hands it also forms a certain rhythm. Dance is an ecstatic expression of emotion in the forms of rhythm.”
To Asha, the stage is akin to a place of worship. “While portraying a character I forget my present and past and become the character.”
Apart from dancing, Asha took part in the reality show “Dance Bangla Dance” and emerged in the rung of the top eight. She has also played a role in “Meghe Dhaka Tara”, a film by Kamaleshwar Mukherjee based on the life of Ritwik Ghatak. “I played the role of Bongobala against Saswata Chattopadhyay. Recently, I have worked in a music video.”
Asha's future plan naturally is to keep on her toes. “I am nothing without dance. I will do dance choreography. I want to establish a dance school. Another of my long-cherished desires is to do something for the transgender community,” she says.