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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Diverse presentations

This diversity of performances, from martial arts to classical dance, best captured the ethos of the International Dance Day

Shaoli Pramanik Published 22.06.24, 07:47 AM
A performance of kalaripayattu by Ajith Kumar T

A performance of kalaripayattu by Ajith Kumar T Source: The Dreamers

Ajith Kumar T. (picture) leaps high up in the air with his urumi (sword) and kedaham (shield), ready to attack his opponent, a skinny girl not quite 10 years old. The latter not only blocks his charge with her kadara (dagger) but also attempts to strike back. This synchronised, one-on-one combat, unfolding amidst dramatic music and red and blue stage lights, perfectly captured the tension within the presentation that was followed by other combating pairs and groups demonstrating physical strength and relevant expressions — little wonder then that the audience viewing the West Bengal Dance Group Federation's presentation, World DanceDay 2024, at Mahajati Sadan sat transfixed.

Kumar, a veteran practitioner of Kalaripayattu, a martial art form that originated in Kerala in the 12th century, trained about 100 dancers as part of the artist-in-residence section of the programme. The outcome of the four-day workshop was a performance that took the audience to the kalaris (battle-pits) in Kerala and enabled them to savour the agile movements, athleticism, stamina and perseverance of the artists. The demonstrations of the performers’ skills in weaponry bore proof of their instinctive responsiveness and technical prowess.

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World Dance Day 2024 also had other offerings: a total of 18 recitals were put up by dance groups across West Bengal. The best picks were Megh Mallar by Sahana Dance Troupe which adapted Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s story into an exquisite dance-drama that foregrounded syncretism through an ancient myth; Aborton by Mamata Shankar Dance Company which portrayed the passage of time through the complex experiences and the memoryscape of a woman; and Ananda Taranga by Srijan Odissi Dance Centre that elucidated the joy of being and the spirit of universalism.

This diversity of performances, from martial arts to classical dance, best captured the ethos of the International Dance Day.

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