Durgapur is ‘a steel city,’ by road three hours away from Kolkata. It does not boast of any major cultural events except as happens in Bengal, the biggest event is Durga Puja. Therefore when I received the invitation from Nrityabritti Batayan’s director Kalamandalam Swarnadeepa, a Mohiniattam and Bharatanatyam dancer, I was quite surprised. The line up of dancers for the two day festival was quite varied, consisting of several dance forms including Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Kathak, Yakshagana and Bharatanatyam jugalbandi. The music component consisted of renowned Bengali musician Sourendra Malik and Soumyajit Das from Kolkata, Sutanu Sarkar from Santinketan and Inamee Chakravarty and Saurabh Gangauly.
Vyjayanthi Kashi and her daughter Prateeksha Kashi (Kuchipudi) from Bangalore. The child prodigy Shreenika with her mother Sonalka (Odissi) from Bangalore, Sandip Malik (Kathak) and his troupe from Kolkata, Swaranadeepa and her troupe from Durgapur, Surojit Deb Barman from Agartala and S. Yogandan Singh (Manipuri) from Imphal, both trained at Shantiniketan, Dipjyoti and Dipankar, Sattriya dancers from Guwahati, Ullal brothers from Mangalore (Yakshagana and Bharatanatyam jugalbandi) and dancers of Saurabh group (Bharatanatyam) from Kolkata. Kalamandalam Gautam from Kolkata was to perform Kathakali but since he was involved with back stage assistance, he dropped the idea of performing traditional Kathakali with elaborate make up and aharya.
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