Chhau rays on land of rising sun - Dance troupe to tour 15 countries next month

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By NAVTAN KUMAR in Jamshedpur
  • Published 7.09.07

Jamshedpur, Sept. 7: The state’s traditional tribal dance will cross borders and mesmerise audiences in South East Asian countries soon.

Seraikela Chhau artiste Pandit Gopal Prasad Dubey and his troupe members have been invited to participate in the festival of India which would be held in Japan next month.

Dubey’s troupe will perform in Japan from October 5 to 8, after which they would tour other countries in the belt like Vietnam and China. Sunil Kumar Dubey, a senior troupe member, said they would perform in 15 countries for about 40 days.

A series of Chhau concerts have been organised by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, under the Union ministry of external affairs.

Gopal Prasad Dubey told The Telegraph that the troupe would leave Seraikela in September-end. “We will go to Delhi where we will get all the details of the trip. We will leave for Japan in the first week of October,” he said.

Apart from Dubey, other troupe members include Manoranjan Sahoo, Tarun Kumar Bhol, Anil Kumar Sarangi, Amit Kumar, Sunil Kumar Dubey, Guru Sudhanshu Shekhar Pani, Deoraj Dubey, Sukhia Mohanty and Narendra Kumar Suri.

Gopal Prasad Dubey has been bestowed with scholarships, fellowships and honours in this field and he has conducted workshops at festivals and universities across the world. He has also been part of a world tour under a travel grant from The Japan Foundation.

His dedication to this field of art is reflected in his words. “When I do Chhau, it is only Chhau, nothing else infiltrates. When I put on the mask I become impersonal. It is easier to slip into the body of another character. When I play the character of a peacock, I think like a peacock. Even when I put on the mask, I have expressions on my face,” Dubey explained.

Dubey is also the founder of the Trinetra Chhau Dance Centre in Seraikela, which was established in 1985 to promote dance, music and culture.

The academy produces original work and sponsors festivals, exhibitions and workshops, supports research into rare dance forms and encourages both realistic and stylised theatre.