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Some virtual classical works for the society

- Dr. Jintu Sarma

June 22, 2020

COVID-19 is a pandemic which created a major jolt to one and all across the globe. Millions of people across countries are infected and lakhs have died. Since there is no proper medicine and vaccine to treat this virus till date, lockdown is a major solution to stop spread of infection. Since 21st March, India is also passing through lockdowns. In this critical period, the physical and mental health of citizens is very essential to maintain strength.

Sinam Basu Singh

Pallavi Krishnan

Anita Sharma

Indian classical dance is a very strong field to boost up physical and mental health to one and all. All the Indian classical dance forms from different states are very soulful irrespective of languages. Amidst lockdown, Bharatanatyam dancer Dr. Debaldev Jana planned to present a virtual work featuring all eight forms of Indian classical dance. Disciple of Gurus Kalamandalam V. R. Venkitt, Preetha Venkitt and Thanjavur B. Herambanathan, he is presently working as Assistant Professor at SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai. Since performance with classic Bengali literature is unusual in this field, he tried to work with Bengali poetry. Presently, India is celebrating the 159th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. So, he chose the 1st paragraph of the song "Nrityer Tale Tale, Nataraj" which is a famous composition of Tagore. The aim was to present all the eight forms of classical dance with a single poetry in virtual mode with some eminent exponents of each form. The title of this work was 'As many views so many paths' which was based on the philosophy of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

The artistes who performed are Sinam Basu Singh from Imphal in Manipuri; Pallavi Krishnan from Thrissur in Mohiniattam; Dr. Ardhanareeswaram Venkat from Hyderabad in Kuchipudi; Anita Sharma from Guwahati in Sattriya; Kalamandalam V. R. Venkitt from Kolkata in Kathakali; Vidha Lal from New Delhi in Kathak; Rina Jana from Kolkata in Odissi; and Pallabi Roy from Mihijam, Jharkhand in Bharatanatyam. The vocal was supported by Trishita Mitra from Tamluk, West Bengal presently learning under Manoj Murali Nair in Rabindra Sangeet, and Debjani Pal.

Kalamandalam V. R. Venkitt

Vidha Lal

This series happened in May 2020 on the Facebook page of Debaldev Jana and had a positive impact on the dance community. It was directed and managed by Dr. Jana. Hope this project will act as strong motivation and inspiration to the dance community and may more dancers be inspired to work with not only Bengali literature but also in many more languages and new poetry in their respective classical dance forms.

Rina Jana

Pallabi Roy

Another effort is by Saptaswa…the rays of performing art, a socio cultural organization from Tezpur, Assam, under the leadership of Dr.Pratibha Sharma, a prominent Sattriya exponent who is conducting a major awareness campaign through social media with the title 'The Rays of Hope: Axar Kiron'. A galaxy of renowned personalities, artistes across the country participated with aim to bring awareness to the common people about Covid-19. This campaign featured Nrityacharya Jatin Goswami, scholar/critic Dr. Sunil Kothari, Kathak guru Bipul Das, Odissi Guru Dr. Madhurima Goswami, Sattriya exponent Anita Sharma, Odissi exponents Dr. Anjanamoyee Saikia and Sarbani Nandy, Kathak exponents Aligunjan Kalita Mudiar, Hemanta Kalita and Ruparani Das Bora, Sattriya exponents Dreamli Gogoi, Ranjumoni Saikia, Dr. Anwesha Mahanta, Dr. Mallika Kandali, Dipjyoti Das and Dipankar Arandhara, Bharatanatyam dancers Debaldev Jana and Jashodhara Bora, to name a few.

Besides celebrity artistes, some students of Saptaswa also took part in the campaign for awareness of Covid-19 through dance. Sattriya dance training begins with Mati-Akhoras that are the foundation for the learners to make a healthy physical, mental and spiritual set-up which is very necessary for a classical dancer. Some of these Mati-Akhoras are similar to yogic postures or asanas (based on Yoga Shastra), which help the learners to maintain physical and mental discipline. This motivational activity of Saptaswa has showed its commitment towards society.

Dr. Jintu Sarma is an Assistant Professor in Guwahati College.

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