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Chhau eyes varsity affiliation
- Dance academy plans to launch six-year diploma course

Jamshedpur, Aug. 17: For the first time in five decades, Seraikela Chhau Dance Academy, also known as Rajkiya Chhau Nritya Kendra, is eyeing affiliation from a well-known cultural university so that it can start a diploma course and thus increase job prospects for its students.

Among the universities it plans to approach are Gandharv Mahavidyalaya, Pune; Prayag Sangeet Samity, Allahabad; Bangiya Sangeet Parishad; Calcutta and a few more.

The Seraikela Royal Palace has also approached Bhatkhande Music Institute University, Lucknow, to seek affiliation for its cultural wing, Srikalapith.

The academy, which functions under the Seraikela-Kharswan administration, has already started preparing a comprehensive syllabus for a six-year diploma course in Seraikela Chhau.

“Our main aim is to provide recognition to whatever we are teaching our students so that they can earn a living. Our teaching should be officially accepted anywhere in the country,” said Tapan Patnaik, director of the academy.

“We have already prepared a blueprint of the syllabus and will soon send a proposal to various universities across the country,” he added.

Established in 1960, Seraikela Chhau Dance Academy teaches dance to students from remote rural areas. The training, imparted over a period of about five to six years, is basically informal on the lines of Guru-shishya parampara.

However, the authorities now want to award certificates to its students, now numbering 100.

“We will invite experts in the dance form to help us prepare the syllabus, which will be on the same lines as those taught at other institutes. The six-year course will be called Nritya Prabhakar while an additional two years’ training will qualify a dancer as Nritya Praveen,” said Patnaik.

Chhau dancers have lauded the academy’s move as they feel that at present, students do not get enough exposure. “If nothing, they can look for teaching jobs. Certificates do matter a lot,” said Raju Mukhi, a Seraikela Chhau exponent.

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