A 22-member troupe from SPIC MACAY (Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth) descended on the campus of PVP Siddhartha Institute of Technology in the city on Wednesday to enthral students with their impressive performance of Chhau dance from Purulia.

Students watched awe-struck as the artists, laden with heavy masks, elaborate head gear and dazzling sets of ornaments danced aggressively depicting scenes of Mahishasura Mardhini. The attire, the body language and the emotions portrayed through the characters looked almost real.

The scenes with Lord Kumaraswamy on his peacock, goddess Durga on the lion and the manifestations of Lord Ganesha and Shiva were spell-binding. The audience sat enraptured while watching the asuras’ dance and the scene of the creation of Matha Jagadamba from the hands of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara.

For a major chunk of the students, the vigorous form of Chhau dance of Purulia district was a familiarisation trip.

This dance is believed to date back to over a century. It was patronised by the royalty and landlords of the Purulia region. Since its inception, members of Mahato, Kurmi, Bhumija, Deowa, Bhuama and Dom communities have sustained this dance form.

The dance was accompanied by musical instruments like dhol, dhamsa and shehnai.

The college Principal P. Venkateswarlu said the objective behind inviting the SPIC MACAY group to the college campus was to create a platform for students to familiarise themselves with the dying traditional dance forms of India. “Events like these serve a dual purpose. They provide the much-needed reprieve to students from the academic pressure and also help them remain rooted to their culture and traditions,” said Mr. Venkateswarlu.

“It is important to make known to the present generation our ancient rich culture which best reflects in the disappearing art forms,” said B.V. Subba Rao, chairman of the Cultural Club of the college. Event co-ordinator A. S. Phani Kumar, and HoDs of all departments attended the programme.

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