The festival features demonstrations of five classical dance forms. Photo: Atl Aakash
A two-day classical dance festival kicked off at Chhayanaut on November 9. Held at Chhayanaut's main auditorium, in Dhanmondi, Dhaka, the festival featured demonstrations of Indian classical dance forms -- Manipuri, Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kathak by both emerging and renowned dancers.
Nritya Pushpanjali (floral offerings) was the opening act that mingled Manipuri and Bharatanatyam styles. Several artistes, colourfully dressed, articulated their devotion to the Creator, gurus and the audience through the performance.
General secretary of Chhayanaut Khairul Anam Shakil delivered the welcome address. President of Chhayanaut, Deshikottom Dr. Sanjida Khatun was present at the inaugural ceremony.
The magnificence of Manipuri dance was revealed in all its glory. The form has its own specific aesthetics, values and conventions. The cult of Radha and Krishna, particularly the Raaslila, is central to its themes. Maharaja Bhagyachandra codified the style and choreographed three of the five types of Raaslila -- the Maha Raas, the Basanta Raas and the Kunja Raas. This genre of dance became better known outside the region through the efforts of Tagore. In 1919, Tagore was so impressed with the dance -- “Goshtha Lila” -- in Sylhet that he invited several gurus, including Budhimantra Singh, to Shantiniketan to teach the art form.
Artistes of Chhayanaut presented a group dance on the theme "Prabandhanartan", highlighting devotion and mystery through their delicate hand gestures. Samina Hossain Prema was the next to showcase "Krishna Balaram Nritya-Goshthey Biday Jachon". The piece depicted the beautiful imagery of Krishna's acting out with his elder brother Balaram through dance. Warda Rihab showcased "Balaram Nartan" at the festival. The artiste seemed to enjoy every bit of the performance, swaying the audience as well.
Noted dancer-choreographer Sharmila Bandyopadhyay performed "Cholketto", a sub-genre of Mohiniyattam at the event. The artiste generated a plethora of untainted sensuousness through the expression of her eyes and balanced use of mudra.
Several Chhayanaut artistes took the stage again to present Jatiswaram, a phase of Bharatanatyam. The artistes' movements of the chin and neck were beautiful. Salma Begum Munni performed "Oshtapadi" while Shukla Sarkar presented "Oshtobhujeshwari" at the festival.
Amit Chowdhury performed "Padam-Natnam Aadinar", a very delicate piece of Bharatanatyam. The artiste was superb in delivering even the minor mudra. Dancers of "Srishti Cultural Centre" and "Dhrupad Kala Kendra" presented "Tillana", a popular and rhythmic piece of Bharatanatyam.
Proma Abanti from Chittagong was vibrant in displaying Shringar Pallabi, a sub-genre of Odissi on the opening day. While presenting the piece, Proma told myriads stories of romance through her eye movements. The influence of Jaideb's “Geetgovinda” is frequent in Odissi. Tribhanga (three twists) is the major gesture of the dance form.
Kathak was the last featured style of the evening. In its formative years, the dance form transitioned from temples to royal courts. The unparalleled popularity of Kathak occurred over time because of its incorporation with ghazal, thumri and dadra. Storytelling through dance is another feature of the genre. Two gharana (school) Lucknow and Jaipur are the hub of Kathak dance.
Tahnina Islam Jhumi performed to a tarana. Her expression of eyes and footwork were immaculate. Tarana performance by Masum Hussain followed.
Based on a Tagore poem "Shubhokhon", noted dancer-choreographer Munmun Ahmed first presented a Kathak composition. Later, the artiste performed another piece set on the record [rendered by Ustad Rashid Khan] in Raga "Kirwani". And last but not the least, Munmun Ahmed showcased various foot works, including rhythm of anklet, moving train, playing football based on Kathak compositions that wrapped up the first day's programme. The packed audience greeted the demonstration with rounds of applause.
Jayanta Roy with Sumona Biswas emceed the event making particular references to the performances. ATN Bangla was the media partner of the festival.