Where classical meets contemporary | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 12, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 12, 2019

Where classical meets contemporary

Sabbir Ahmed Khan Biju began dancing in 1989. An ardent fan of Michael Jackson, Biju was always drawn to breakdance. But he realised that to master any form of dance, he needs to start with classical first. Big names like Shibli Mohammad and Ashim Bandhu Bhattacharya (India) are Biju's Kathak teachers. He further went to Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, UK, to be trained in contemporary dance.

Currently, Biju is a choreographer and instructor at Shadhona, a dance company popular for promoting traditional dance forms. He is known for blending the genres of classical and contemporary. “Classical and contemporary are both really communicative forms of dance,” says Biju. “It takes years of rigorous training to learn any form of classical dance, but I think young dancers can easily pick up contemporary. Both these forms make a beautiful combination.” When he was in the UK, Biju built an interest in the field of sound engineering and beat production because he wanted to learn about music and create his own musical pieces for his performances. With his knowledge of sound engineering and beat production, Biju also works as a disk jockey from time to time.

He performed at the opening ceremony of the Bangladesh Navy Training Complex, with around 500 cadets in the presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina last year and also at the Khajuraho Dance Festival in 2017, organised by the Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad. The festival is a week-long event of classical dances held against the spectacular backdroup of the Khajuraho temples.  Some other notable programmes Biju performed at include the Bangabandhu Gold Cup and the International Weavers Festival in 2018.

Biju is also remarkably skilled in Bangladesh's traditional lathi khela. He feels the responsibility of communicating crucial messages and portraying a range of emotions through his dance. As a dancer, he went to the International Visitor Leadership Program in the USA, in which current and emerging leaders in different fields, experience the country firsthand and cultivate relationships with their American counterparts. In the near future, Biju hopes to open his own institution for students of dance, beat production, sound, light and costume design among other things.

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