Centring on the theme “Bridging the Gap”, the largest international dance fiesta,’Ocean Dance Festival Bangladesh 2019’ is underway in Cox’s Bazar.
The four-day event was organised by World Dance Alliance and Nrityajog, the Bangladesh Chapter of World Dance Alliance – Asia Pacific (WDA-AP) and is supported by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Bangladesh Tourism Board, partnered with Mattra and Channel I. It is featuring about 81 foreign choreographers, scholars, practitioners, dancers and researchers. Seminars, workshops, choreo labs, as well as live and visual demonstrations of contemporary dance practices is being organised at the Mermaid Beach Resort.
Dr Urmimala Sarkar, President, WDA-AP, formally inaugurated the conference held before the fiesta. “The festival, along with the annual conference, is an outcome of our vision, mission and dedicated labour. We are happy and proud,” she said in her welcome speech. WDA-AP Vice-President Lubna Marium, former President Yunyu Wang (Taiwan) and Anisul Islam Hero, President of Nrityajog, the Bangladesh Chapter of WDA-AP, were also in attendance, among others.
World renowned British Bangladeshi dancer Akram Khan sent a video message that was screened at the session. “From the dawn of civilisations, human beings have been continuing corporeal practices. If it is done in unison, it will be more powerful and the world will be easily informed of the important messages,” he said in the video message.
Cultural Affairs Minister K M Khalid, MP, inaugurated the festival at the indoor venue, ‘Cox’s Carnival Auditorium’, in Cox’s Bazar on the opening day. Renowned dancers Laila Hasan and Anisul Islam Hero also spoke at the ceremony. A number of participating artistes, led by Tabassum Ahmed, set off the inaugural dance. Performances by World Dance Alliance were also presented at the inaugural ceremony.
The festival began with Ananya Dance Theatre Trikone-Connectivites’s soul-searching performance. Mingling the essence of mime, the artiste trio effortlessly connected audience with their theatrical movements, soulful expressions and the contemporary dance elements.
Shedding light on Tagore’s adoration towards nature, artistes of Shadhona incorporated the bard’s songs and poems in their production, Aay Amader Angone that thoroughly mesmerised the dance enthusiasts at the festival. The presentation of Odissi dance (Batu with Ornament) by Taiwanese artiste Huang Yu Ting also entertained the audience. Lithuanian dancer Kristina Dolinina and Indian dancer Shivani Verma collaborated together to present the Kathak-based piece, Have we met before?, while Bangladeshi dancer Anandita Khan upheld the pain and plight of immigrants in her contemporary styled solo piece, Refugees.
Mingling Contemporary with Kathak, Moumita Jaya presented, Religion- A Cause of Conflict in Culture, Bangladesh at the festival. The beautiful Bharatanatyam performance by Bangladeshi troupe Kolpotoru was followed by promising Bangladeshi soloist Zuairiyah Mouli, who showcased Ardhanarishwara at the grand festival.
The special presentation of the opening day was Choreo Lab Showcase, by Canadian artiste Sashar Zarif. The production was an outcome of a multinational residency programme under Sashar Zarif, who aesthetically choreographed the piece, unleashing multicultural exchanges. Several dancers from Bangladesh, India and Hong Kong performed in it. The light, dancers’ movements and spontaneous performance captivated all.
A dance performance by Santal dance troupe Trishul from Naogaon, planned and coordinated by Trina Mojumdar, emitted the essence of Bangladeshi folk and indigenous culture. Fifa Chakma and Antar Dewan brilliantly depicted the Chakma ways of life through various dances. Bangladeshi troupes led by Dipa Khadakar, MR Wasek, Pradip Chandra Naha and Samina Husain Prema beautifully presented Gram Bangla, Gambhira, Dhamail and Raibenshe dances at the festival respectively.