Monday 8 February 2021

Dancers' sojourn in distressed days - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

Mahagami Gurukul, the unique performing arts institution of its kind, has now grown into a branch of MAHAGAMI University, having completed 20 years of a flourishing existence in 2017. Since then every year, past and present students converged from faraway places to be part of this celebration. Past students from USA, Brazil, Austria, Argentina, Delhi, Bangalore, Kochi, Pune, etc. travelled to Mahagami to be part of the dance offering, VAYAM (I, we) that aimed at celebrating their attachment with the Gurukul.

In 2021, due to the long months of lockdown, the Mahagami team led by their gifted director Parwati Dutta, came up with an online version of the VAYAM festival with an aim to encouraging talented dancers and celebrating the spirit of dance even in the existing restrictions. She had been artistically active since the beginning of lockdown in mid-March 2020 and had designed, curated and initiated a variety of projects and immersions in the past 9 months. Dance immersions were aimed at re-igniting the learners' minds towards form making abilities of dance movements, creating dance motifs and metaphors, and internalising multiple facades of dance. She immersed herself in the sudden silence around in the Gurukul and came up with a range of new compositions - from a Sanskrit ditty glorifying a blossom, to re-looking at taal Rupak from the perspective of the sound-form dialogue, a pada by Nanda Das describing spring time love frolics, to a highly imaginative Krishna Tandava (pure dance in Odissi) in which the divine dance of Krishna was imagined as if he wandered in the silent pathways of Mahagami! Indeed, the sculpted gardens and decorative motifs on all the buildings of the Gurukul provided a fascinatingly varied and picturesque backdrop of the 2021 virtual programme of VAYAM.

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