Widening the repertoire of Kathak | Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 29, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 29, 2019

Widening the repertoire of Kathak

Skilled in the discipline of Kathak, renowned dance exponent and television personality Munmun Ahmed has many prestigious awards to her credit, including the National Award by Shishu Academy for Kathak Dance (1980), UNESCO Cultural Award (2000) NHK Japan Award (2000), BACHSAS Award for Best Dancer (2001), Television Audience Award for Best Dancer (2003), and Meril Prothom Alo Award for Best Dancer (2006), among others. She was a student of Azhar Khan, Habibul Chowdhury, Saleha Chowdhury and Syed Abul Kalam in Bangladesh before pursuing her higher studies in Kathak in India. She trained under the tutelage of Pandit Ram Mohan Maharaj and Raj Kumar Sharma at Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, and Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj at Kathak Kendra in Delhi. She also founded Rewaz Performers’ School, a pioneering dance academy in Bangladesh. She directed the opening dance drama for the South Asian Games that took place in Bangladesh in 2010, titled Nacholer Rani, which had a record 900 performers. She also choreographed and directed the dance dramas, Roudro Din Payra, Din Bodoler Gaan, Shopnojatra and Shadhinota Tumi, among others.  Furthermore, she was an integral performer in the Germany-Bangladesh joint production titled, Made in Bangladesh, helmed by renowned dance director Helena Waldmann. It staged 30 shows all across Europe, India and Bangladesh. 

An avid performer, teacher and choreographer, Munmun thinks that working in the field of dance in Bangladesh comes with many hardships. “It is disheartening to see that those who like to employ our talent, often do not value it for what it is worth,” asserts Munmun. “Moreover, even though dance is part of the fabric of our culture, many genres of dance are not presented in their purest forms these days. I believe that a dancer should try to maintain the purity of a dance form and never compromise with it.” Munmun also teaches Kathak at the Indian High Commission in Dhaka as well as Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, as she continues to perform on stage and on television, both at home and abroad.

Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), in collaboration with Bangladesh Nritya Shilpi Sangstha (BNSS), set off the week-long International Dance Day Festival 2019 at BSA on April 23. The festival, boasting a dance fair along with performances by dancers from all across Bangladesh continued at BSA’s Plaza till yesterday. The concluding evening of performances for the event will take place at the National Theatre Hall at BSA today, on the occasion of International Dance Day. Munmun is closely involved with organising the programme. “The International Dance Day is of great importance to dancers because it gives us an opportunity to revel in the common language and universality of dance and this festival is our humble attempt to encourage young dancers,” shares Munmun.


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