Acclaimed Manupuri dancer and choreographer Warda Rihab raised awareness on the global coronavirus pandemic through a dance routine video. Titled Don't Live in Fear, Be Cautious, the video is based on the Manipuri Bol by renowned dancer Bimbavati Devi. Through the routine, Warda urges people to stay home and follow precautionary measures. The video has received immense appreciation from other noted artistes and audiences at home and abroad. It is also being aired daily on BTV and DD News India. In a brief interview, Warda discusses how artistes need to act responsibly during this crisis.
As an optimist, Warda likes to channel her energy towards positivity during any hardships. "With regular doses of unpleasant, breaking news reports from all over the world, it is natural to be afraid," she explains. "The real challenge is to keep a positive mindset in these tough times. Through my dance, I want people to be more aware, not fearful."
She further adds, "My guru-bon (disciples of the same guru) and teacher, Bimbavati Devi, sent the Bol to her senior students during the shutdown and asked us to design anything out of it. In my rendition, I decided to address my reality. I kept the steps simple so that they can be comprehended easily. As an artiste, I have a social responsibility to utilise my skills towards positive notions."
As she practices self-isolation at home, Warda likes to read books, plan new choreographies, spend quality time with her son and maintain a daily routine. "Maybe this pandemic is nature's revenge or a reminder that we should spend more time on our own," she says. "A creative mind should not stay idle. I urge everyone to find enjoyment in the things that they love doing as they self-isolate."
As programmes around the world have come to a sudden halt because of the pandemic, artistes are struggling to make ends meet. "It is indeed a difficult period for artistic communities, especially freelance performers," says Warda. "I have been talking to a few of my friends to try and work out a plan to help out artistes in need. I have also received requests for online classes and have definitely given it a thought. But I don't have any immediate plans."