Feb. 10: For Chloe Romero, learning Odissi was a unique experience of knowing Indian culture.
The fact that a French teacher taught her the dance in her homeland is even more intriguing. This is adequate proof that popularity of the Indian classical dance has not dimmed. While people here may prefer salsa or Bollywood-style dances, the rich Indian classical dance tradition is still held in high reverence globally.
Chloe, in her mid-twenties, is in the city to participate in the fifth Pragjyoti International Dance Festival organised by Kalpa, a society for promotion of literature, art and culture, in association with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations under the ministry of external affairs.
The two-day festival ended today.
A busy Chloe, applying last-minute touches to her make-up before her performance this evening, spoke to The Telegraph.
“I saw Odissi dance form when I was about eight years old, but I began learning it later. My guru is from France and a seasoned Odissi dancer. This is a beautiful dance form learning which gave me an insight into the rich Indian culture and heritage. I have been performing on the stage for the past five years,” she said, all the while applying red alta to her dainty feet.
“All classical Indian dances are very popular in my country. I came to India before to perform in different dance festivals. This is, however, the first time I am in Guwahati to participate in the Pragjyoti International Dance Festival. I am very excited about performing here, hoping that people here will like my dance,” said Chloe who, dressed in the traditional Odissi costume and silver ornaments with a bright bindi on her forehead, looked like an Indian woman in every way.
Dancers from the state seemed delighted to showcase their talent in this dance festival that has gained much recognition for bringing in seasoned classical dancers from across the globe and bringing to fore the young dance exponents who have been tirelessly working to enrich Indian classical dance tradition through their performances.
“About 14 of us have come from the Youth Club of Mangaldoi to perform in this dance festival today. While nine of us are dancers, five are musicians. We will stage Xattriya dance and enact Abhimanyu Badh from the Mahabharat through the dance. Though our dance troupe has performed Bihu and Xattriya in different parts of the country and abroad, this is the first time we will be performing at this dance festival,” said Sudarshana Sarma, a dancer from the Mangaldoi-based Youth Club.
“I have been dancing Xattriya for the past 15 years now. Xattriya is a very graceful dance form,” said Tulika Saharia, another dancer of Youth Club.