A blend of classical, contemporary and folk | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 25, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 25, 2012

A blend of classical, contemporary and folk

International Dance Day programme at Shilpakala Academy

(From top): Performances by the artistes of Nrityabhumi; Arpita Shome and co-artistes in the dance drama; two dancers of Nrityalok and three artistes of Nrityashree. Photo: Mumit M.

Marking International Dance Day (April 29), the weeklong National Dance Festival opened at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on April 23. Information Secretary Hedayet Ullah Al Mamun ndc inaugurated the festival while Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University, AAMS Arefin Siddique, delivered a speech at the programme.
With the theme “Nrityer Taal-e Taal-e Bishwa Aaj Eksathey”, Bangladesh Nritya Shilpi Sangstha (BNSS), in association with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), is holding the festival. The organisers conferred Nrityaguru Gawhar Jamil Memorial Award to President of BNSS (Bogra), Abdus Samad Palash, and Nrityaguru GA Mannan Memorial Award to President of BNSS (Rangpur), Professor Azizul Islam, at the inaugural event. President of BNSS Laila Hasan presided over the programme where general secretary of BNSS, Deepa Khandakar and dancer-choreographer Saju Ahmed were present.
Presentation of several riveting dance pieces and staging of a dance-drama, “Mahua”, followed.
Choreographed by Kabirul Islam Ratan, artistes of Bangladesh Academy of Fine Arts greeted the packed audience with a welcome dance. Several differently-abled dancers performed to the Tagore song “Anondolok-e Mongolalok-e”. A number of Nrityabhumi artistes danced to another Tagore number, “Amar Hiyar Majhey”, at the event. Eva Shahriar Sohag choreographed the piece.
Two dancers -- Tazia and Ranobir -- of Nrityalok beautifully presented a Kathak piece to a recorded version of a classical bandish. Kabirul Islam Ratan choreographed the presentation. Artistes of Nrityam were next to take the stage. Choreographer Tamanna Rahman led her troupe in showcasing an artistic balance of corporal movements. The artistes' devotional plea coupled with records of a shlok (verse) and a Tagore song “Bhengechho Duar Eshechho Jyotirmoy” mesmerised the audience.
Artistes of Dibya presented a piece, choreographed by Deepa Khandakar, to the Tagore number, “Amol Dhabol Paal Legechhey”. Three artistes of Nrityashree were immaculate while presenting an Odissi dance. Presentation of a folk piece followed, by the artistes of Ghash Phul Nadi. Four artistes of Dhaka Nandankala Kendra presented “Jyotisharam”, a Bharatanatyam piece choreographed by Dr. Shoma Momtaz.
The highlight of the evening was staging of a dance-drama, “Mahua”. A familiar pala from “Mymensingh Geetika” (a collection of folk-ballades), “Mahua” is a romantic tragedy. With a brilliant combination of folk dance, music and narration, the production sketches the simplicity of traditional Bengali village life.
The urban audience, especially the young ones, were fascinated with the lifestyle of the gypsy snake charmers, pala gaan, true love and the sacrifice of Mahua for Nader Chand.
A band of snake charmers were seen approaching a peaceful village called Kanchanpur. The son of a Zaminder, Nader Chand, falls in love with the beautiful gypsy girl Mahua. Mahua also expresses her love for Chand. But, their respective social statuses come as a bar in between. Mahua's father, Homrah Baidya, along with his troupe, flees as he comes to know that his daughter has fallen in love with the son of the local Zaminder.
After much effort, Chand manages to find his beloved at a remote river bank and decides to take her away with him. On their way to Kanchanpur, they are attacked by the gypsies. Homrah Baidya orders Mahua to kill Nader Chand with a knife. Instead of killing Chand, Mahua stabs herself and dies. Nader Chand follows Mahua to afterlife.
Talented dancers Arpita Shome and Amit Chowdhury donned the roles of Mahua and Nader Chand respectively. Choreographer MR Wasek enacted the role of Homrah Baidya.
National Art Gallery Plaza of BSA is another venue for the festival where a dance fair is being held. Secretary of BSA inaugurated the fair on the day.
Several other dance dramas -- “Ichhamotir Bakey”, “Gunaibibi”, “Chitrangada”, “Shadhinata Amar” and “Rongila Nayer Majhi” -- will be staged (one on each day) at National Art Gallery Plaza of BSA. Sultana Haidar, Badal, Khaja Salahuddin, Selina Haque and Enamul Haque Bachchu have choreographed the productions respectively.

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