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Blending Mohiniyattom and Rabindra Nritya

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Kalamandalam Swarnadipa Mahanta
Kalamandalam Swarnadipa Mahanta

Bengali dancer Kalamandalam Swarnadipa Mahanta plans a new choreography blending elements of Mohiniyattom and Rabindra Nritya.

"Both forms are lasya-rich. Rabindranath Tagore loved and respected South Indian dance forms. Rabindra Nritya has elements of South Indian dance," she says.

Swarnadipa studied Bharatanatyam for nine years in Kolkata under the guidance of Kalamandalam T. Shankarnarayan, Principal of Sangeet Bhavan at Viswabharati, Shantiniketan.

"I wanted to learn other South Indian dance forms too. I was enamoured of Mohiniyattom and I knew I could learnt the purest form of the dance only in Kerala," she says.

She came to Kerala and joined Kerala Kalamandalam. For seven years, she studied Mohiniyattom there under Kalamandalam Pushpalatha, Leelamma, Padmini, Rajalakshmi and Hymavathi.

"Knowledge of Malayalam language and ancient Malayalam texts is essential for a Mohiniyattom dancer. Being in Kerala helped me learn the language," says Swarnadipa, who speaks Malayalam fluently.

Swarnadipa, who hails from Durgapur in Burdwan district of West Bengal, was one of the toppers in the dance competition held at the Doverlane Music Conference in 2003. She also choreographed a special piece that was telecast by Tara Bangla on New Year's eve in 2003.

She is currently researching on Kuchipudi on a national scholarship.

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