Nrityanchal showcases its dancers in the making
Nrityanchal, one of the leading dance schools in the country, held a recital at National Theatre Stage, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on February 13. The recital showcased 250 students of the school, demonstrating their 'Kathak' aptitude.
Muhammad Jahangir, coordinator of Nrityanchal, provided a brief but precise update on the school's current position and activities. Starting in 2000, Nrityanchal now operates at two venues -- Rajdhani High School at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar and Siddeshwari University College at Maghbazar. The institution regularly invites dance gurus and exponents to conduct workshops. "2009 should be an active year for Nrityanchal," hoped Jahangir.
Ramendu Majumdar, president of ITI worldwide, was the chief guest. In his speech Majumdar said, "Within a short span, Nrityanchal has made an impressive contribution to the dance scenario in our country. The organisation is working tirelessly to mould young dancers. But the more important aspect of Nrityanchal's contribution is preserving the indigenous dance forms of our country that are on the verge of extinction, which I consider to be a need of the time."
The recital had a shaky start, as power went out in the middle of the first performance, "Saraswati Bandana." It's unfortunate that the BSA authority cannot ensure uninterrupted power supply during a show. The young dancers quickly recovered though, impressing the audience with their ode to 'Veenapani,' the goddess of knowledge and arts.
The following act was "Guru Bandana," a tribute to the teacher, putting him/her in the ranks of Vishnu, Barhma and Shiva.
The next composition featured a deconstructed demonstration of 'Shuddha' Kathak. The young dancers performed the piece in 14 'laya,' accompanied with 'paranth' (rhythmic syllables) by their guru Shibli Muhammad (director of Nrityanchal) and Rumana Rashid Ishita.
"Bou Pakhi Dakey," accompanied with a song by Saadi Muhammad and Shakila Zafar, was a contemporary dance composition based on Kathak movements.
The highlights of the evening were two performances -- "Gath-Bhav" and "Pratibimba." In "Gath-Bhav" a single dancer interprets stories to the accompaniment of a basic 'taal' and a melody. Amidst rounds of applause, a young dancer articulated tales of Radha fetching water from the 'ghaat,' Krishna frolicking with Radha, a young Krishna stealing butter and getting caught red-handed by Yashoda. Though the handout provided by the organisers listed all performers, it would have been better if the advanced students (in particular those in solo and duet acts) were introduced to the audience.
In "Pratibimba," six dancers -- in three sets of two -- mirrored each other's movements.
The USP of Kathak is that skilled dancers of this classical art form posses the ability to become flashes of lightning on the stage at times and the subtlest of waves at others. These young dancers demonstrated that potential.
The programme wrapped up with a performance, titled "Pathshala," featuring 250 students of Nrityanchal.
There were minor flaws here and there, but it would be imprudent to form an opinion based on those. These dancers are still at the initial stages of their training. Going by their verve and penchant for the dance form, their prospects of becoming accomplished artistes seem bright.