Dancing their WAY TO FAME

THE LATE Protima Gauri started Nrityagram, the dance village in order to keep alive the tradition of the Indian classical dances among the Indian youth. She also dreamt that one day her devoted students would find a place in national and international forums. And that is exactly what the Nrityagram ensemble has achieved in the last few years.

The Odissi dancers, trained at the dance village, have just returned from their two-month trip to the U.S., where they participated in two prestigious dance festivals — The American Dance Festival at Duke University and Central Park's Summerstage.

The American Dance Festival was a six-week programme where dancers came to learn from renowned dancers from across the world. In the evenings they watched them perform on stage. The workshop ended with each dancer and choreographer presenting an original piece on the concluding day, explained Surupa Sen, one of the seniormost students of Nrityagram.

How do such trips abroad help one as a dancer?

"Well, we get to see several dance forms and the different styles of working. Such events boost not only the dancer but also the dance form on the international platform. It helps open new possibilities for all the Indian dancers," said the petite dancer, who also added that one can look forward to some interesting collaborative works in dance in the future.

Surupa Sen, Bijoyini Satpathy, Ayona Bhaduri, Priyambada Pattanaik, and Pavitra Reddy were the five dancers who captured American hearts with their graceful performances. The five received rave reviews in almost all the leading newspapers in the U.S. during their trip. The dancers presented some classical items from the Odissi repertoire and also a contemporary piece called Shri, choreographed by Surupa.

Would it not be better for these dancers to also perform more in their own city? "Actually we would love to do that. But most of the organisers who invite us to perform in the city make it an exclusive programme. But we plan to present Shri sometime in December and make it open to the public," says Surupa.

Surely now all dance patrons will be waiting for that magical evening.

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