Chhau guru hosts workshop - Charan Pati in capital to promote traditional dance form

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By ARTI S. SAHULIYAR
  • Published 21.01.12
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Ranchi is learning to match steps with Chhau exponent Pandit Guru Shyama Charan Pati.

The Padmashree awardee, who is in the city to promote Seraikela Chhau so that youngsters can keep alive the traditional dance form, is holding a 10-day workshop at Union Club and Library. As many as 60 participants are learning the right moves from Charan Pati, who is credited with bringing in innovative changes in the dance form while staying true to tradition.

“I am here to promote this old folk dance, which has otherwise remained confined mainly to villages. The dance that I am teaching to these youngsters involves use of weapons and masks while enacting scenes from epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata,” Pati, dressed in a tussar silk embroidered kurta, said.

This is the second workshop being hosted in the city by Pati. The first was held at Ramakrishan Mission Ashram in 2003.

Once the workshop concludes on January 28, Pati, along with his trained Chhau dancers, will present a dance drama at Plaza cinema hall on January 29.

The septuagenarian who also received the Jharkhand Ratna award said he had not tampered with the original dance form. “I just added a new element so that it can appeal to these urban youths,” he said.

Explaining the need to bring changes in the traditional dance form, the Chhau exponent added: “Commoners fail to understand this type of dance as the artistes wear costumes of animals and perform with weapons. So, we thought of experimenting to make the dance form more appealing to audience. Back home at Icha village, I have trained the villagers, who have now become teachers. I have popularised this dying art form in 100 villages of Seraikela district.”

The costume has also undergone a sea change with the folk artistes donning colourful, bright costumes.

A recipient of countless awards, Pati does not wish to sit on his laurels. He is looking forward to visit England in March to hold a workshop there along with his daughter Susmita Pati. His only complaint is that the state government failed to keep its 2008 promise of providing him a financial grant of Rs 7 lakh.