The clubs and societies at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, are abuzz with activity ever since the college welcomed students back to the campus after a pandemic break.
The Xaverian Academy of Dance and Music (XADAM), the cultural society of the Park Street campus, is calling first-year students to join. To become a member of XADAM, students need to appear for an audition --- dance, choir, instrumentals, recitation and editorials --- by December 1.
“XADAM encourages all forms of art. Being trained will help you in a group performance. We are eagerly waiting for freshers to join our family,” said Subhangi Roy, a first-year master’s student in English and a member of the core committee of XADAM.
The society, which has been active for more than 10 years, has 250 members and is guided by Sujata Pakrashi Lahiri, cultural director and professor in charge of the department of performing arts.
“Before the pandemic, my students used to come and rehearse for long hours after classes. The lockdown posed several challenges but we had to begin somewhere. Eventually, students started performing individually instead of in groups. They began to think differently and contributed several creative pieces. We had to go online mode and technical glitches were common but we continued. We conducted online rehearsals, meetings, discussions, auditions, concerts and other activities. Virtual performances call for the additional work of editing. But we have been able to continue the legacy of XADAM,” Lahiri said.
XADAM members perform at various college events such as Independence Day, Teachers’ Day, Christmas Meet, convocation, Sishu Mela and Women’s Day. The society organises its annual fest, Goonj, where students from various colleges showcase their talent.
“I have been part of XADAM since my first year. It’s been three years. At XADAM, we take part in various intra-college and inter-college activities. We have events all year long. I remember spending hours in our Jubilee Hall rehearsing for events. Our family keeps growing,” said Pratik Dasgupta, a first-year MCom student, who is a part of the core committee of XADAM.
XADAM encourages students to explore different genres apart from what they specialise in. For example, a Bharatanatyam dancer gets an opportunity to be trained in Kathak, Odissi, and Manipuri while rehearsing for various cultural events.
“Sujata ma’am mentors us and boosts our self-confidence. The college has witnessed several performances by the students of XADAM,” said Unmesha Chattopadhyay, a third-year Sociology student, who is also a part of the core committee.
The society organised several online events and music concerts during the pandemic. “The pandemic has been tough for all of us. We were very used to meeting in the Jubilee Hall almost every day to sing together and seeing each other only on screen was strange. But despite the pandemic, XADAM has not ceased to be a part of our lives,” said Nandini Niloy Chakravarty, a third-year English student, who is also a core committee member.