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Towards an Indian daCi chapter
- Mamata Niyogi-Nakra, Montreal

March 22, 2007

I have often been asked why there is no India chapter of Dance and the Child International (daCi), an organization that has representatives from countries all over the world. I cannot honestly claim to have an answer. It has indeed been puzzling to me along with many others, to find that this august body has not generated any interest that it ought to have. Some among the international dance community have been concerned about this and in fact the Netherlands Chapter of daCi has come up with a concrete proposal, with an invitation to Indian dancers and dance teachers to join Dance and the Child International (daCi), and to form an Indian Chapter of the same. Kindly refer to Maria's invitation and document by clicking the link here.

I have been a member of daCi from 1988 when I first attended and presented a paper at its triennial International conference held in London, England. My husband, Harbans Nakra, and I have been to other conferences as well since then with presentations related to our work in the field of "dance and the child," carried out at Kala Bharati in Montreal, Canada.

Bans and I presented a paper and a lecture-demonstration respectively, at the daCi conference last year in July in The Hague during which we met Maria Speth. The absence of a national chapter of daCi in India, a country where dance is a vital part of its culture, came up during our conversation. Evidently, it was a subject that had received some attention from the members of the Netherlands Chapter and it was with much excitement and enthusiasm that Maria talked to me about their intention to undertake an initiative to help rectify this situation. I wrote about this in my contribution to the November 2006 issue of the daCi newsletter.

As some of you are already aware, for sometime now, and particularly in the last few years, I have been speaking on the importance of having a chapter of daCi in India whenever the occasion has arisen at various forums, including among others, in Delhi at India International Centre's day-long symposium on Arts in Education (2006), at a couple of presentations in Chennai arranged by Aalapana Trust in 2006 and in Kolkata at Sapphire Creations' Interface 2006 and Euphony's seminar on Dance and the Child (2007). In my present stay in India, since January 2007, I have been contacting and talking to a number of persons and I have been pleased to note that there has been some interest among the Indian dancers, teachers, and others as well, to look into this matter seriously as they feel it does merit a concerted effort to do something concrete to rectify the situation if possible.

My personal initiative, albeit modest, has borne some fruit. I am pleased to inform you that under the rubric of Dhitang - a banner under which Kala Bharati, Montreal is grouping all its activities in the field of "Dance and the Child," some dance teachers in Kolkata have formed a collective with a view to exchanging ideas and are interacting in the spirit of sharing and networking. For more on this collective and its activities please go to the link "Presenting Dhitang."

It is my fervent hope that you will respond warmly to this invitation by Maria Speth made on behalf of the Netherlands Chapter of daCi. I would appreciate your help in circulating this information to inform others who might be interested.

Dr. Mamata Niyogi-Nakra is the director of Kala Bharati, Montreal.

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