Warda Rihab on adjusting to life during the pandemic | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 17, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:02 AM, October 17, 2020

Warda Rihab on adjusting to life during the pandemic

Manipuri exponent Warda Rihab is a two-time gold medalist from Rabindra Bharati University, India. She also received a scholarship from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). Under the tutelage of eminent dance guru Kalavati Devi, Warda Rihab mastered the art of classical Manipuri dance. She is also the founder of Dhriti Nartanalaya, an organisation aiming to promote the classical and contemporary values of Bangladesh. Currently, she is a dance teacher at the Department of Dance, University of Dhaka, as well as Chhayanaut institute and Kobi Kazi Nazrul Institute. We recently caught up with the artiste to find out more about her recent projects.

Are you teaching at the moment?

It has been two months since I started online lessons for my students at University of Dhaka. I have also been taking online classes at Chhayanaut for the past four to five weeks. My team at Dhriti Nartanalaya is regularly participating in online trainings since June. Over a hundred dancers regularly join these sessions online from different parts of the country.

What else are you currently busy with?

The famous dance-based programme "Nritter Taale Taale", which airs on Bangladesh Television, was closed for over seven months. Now that it has finally restarted, I, along with my team, recently finished shooting for one of its episodes on Manipuri dance. Throughout the pandemic, we have been very active, consistently organising virtual events and uploading videos of our performances on social media platforms. We have also performed at BTV's programme, marking the birthday of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, recently.

Do you think the situation for stage performers, especially dancers, has gotten any better in the recent days?

I certainly do. We are now getting remunerated for our virtual performances. Recently, I performed online at the inaugural ceremony of New York Bangla Book Fair 2020. They paid us well, just like organisers do when we perform live. My team of eight dancers also recently performed at the inaugural ceremony, marking the construction of a new terminal at Osmani International Airport, Sylhet. The programme was virtually attended by the Prime Minister, while we performed a Manipuri and patriotic routine at the event. It was an invite-only event, with a limited number of guests at the physical venue.

Will you be performing anywhere on Durga Puja this year?

Durga Puja has always been a very special occasion for me, particularly as a dancer. This year, I will be performing virtually at the Puja celebrations in Washington, DC, along with a team of dancers. The programme will feature eminent artistes from India and Bangladesh. We have been working on some beautiful routines, especially based on Durga Puja. We hope that we can successfully arrange these programmes after ensuring safety measures, as the pandemic is yet to subside.

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