Acclaimed Manipuri dancer Samina Husain Prema has been keeping the public entertained and motivated through virtual performances, as the nation copes with the coronavirus pandemic.
For Prema, unusual circumstances have always worked as a catalyst for creativity. In her recent videos, Prema performed with her six-year-old daughter. The duo received much appreciation for their performance on the song, Ek Shathe Dure Thaki, sponsored by Grameen Phone, in association with Grey Dhaka. With powerful lyrics by Syed Gousul Alam Shaon, the song definitely strikes a chord with the audience. Sharmin Sultana Sumi, the lead vocalist of Chirkutt composed the song, while Pavel Areen, the drummer and sound producer of Chirkutt, has produced, mixed and mastered the music. Anik Ahammed is the assistant mix engineer of the project.
"My daughter Rai loves the song. She was really excited when we decided to turn our drawing room into our stage. She is very observant, and her expressions were quite natural in the performance," says a proud Prema.
The duo's performance was recently aired on Ekattor TV. Prema also participated in a fund-raising live show, organised by 'Sangskritikarmibrindya'. She has submitted a video for UNESCO's virtual art project, which will be released soon. "I intend to focus on positivity and work on more dance routines at this time," she says.
The artiste is also keeping in touch with her students over the phone. "I have asked my students to keep practicing and performing. For Pohela Boishakh, they made videos of their performances at home," explains Prema. "Creativity can provide solace and strength during these difficult times." She also started conducting online classes recently.
Prema further discussed the importance of physical exercise. "While exercise is beneficial for everyone, it is a must for dancers. I was one of the 25 Bangladeshi dancers who performed at the March 17 celebrations with the Akram Khan Company. They emphasise a great deal on preparing the body for dance," says Prema. "Out of the 6 hours of practice, we spent 4 hours on physical exercise and 2 hours on the choreography. As we stay at home in these trying times, I have started practicing yoga with my daughter and I have asked my students to do the same." Prema also noted that it is important to seek out the right information and educate children about preventive measures against the coronavirus effectively.