Indian Classical Dance Society, July-November 2016

Nupur commenced its activities for the semester with a solo presentation in the Founder’s Day function. The traditional Bharatanatyam thillana was presented by first year student, Krittika Kumar.

In August, the society also organized its annual auditions to induct new promising talent. For the Independence Day celebrations, the society chose the theme of being different and yet being able to work together, as a meaning of independence. The performance was a fusion of Odissi, Bharatnatyam and Kathak.

In October, two screenings were organized—a presentation on the Natyashastra and the classical dance forms, and a documentary on the folk form of Purulia Chhau. Each screening was followed by a discussion.

Convenors: Mrs. Nirmala Murlidhar, Ms Charu Kala and Ankan Dhar

Nupur, is the Indian Classical Dance Society of Janki Devi Memorial College, which comprises of students across the various departments. The Society aims at bringing an interaction and participation between the student-members who are trained in the different forms, schools/gharanas of Indian Classical Dance and to impart the resultant knowledge and practice to the entire college. The Society is committed to the development and continuity of the rich cultural heritage and sophisticated art forms of Indian Classical Dance.

The cultural activities of Nupur commenced with the very beginning of the academic year, where the members collaborated in the conceptualization, choreography and execution of a performance for the Founder’s Day celebrations on 5th August 2014. Highlighting the theme of ‘Colours of Peace’ the performance focused on the binary of creativity-violence/srishti-samhaar in Indian aesthetics and the myths of Lord Shiva as the creator/destroyer in the forms of Nataraja and Neelkanth.

The Activity Week (8-12th September 2014) allotted to Nupur was organized over a variety of events spread over five days, aimed at guiding the students to engage with critical issues of Indian Classical Dance in contemporary times. On 8th September, a lecture-demonstration was conducted by Kathak and Dhrupad exponent, Ms Namrata Pamnani. She discussed the folk and classical origins of Kathak, and its transformation through time, stressing on the social role played by dance in endowing the life of the audience with more richer emotions. She demonstrated her lecture with a performance of a classical piece on non-violence choreographed by her. On 9th September Gulbahar Singh‘s documentary, Gotipua was screened. Gotipua, one of the oldest dance forms of Orissa, is on the verge of extinction due to lack of patronage, and is today found only in some villages of Orissa. The dance form is associated with only young boys who attired in the female costume perform in the feminine style. It is not merely an art form but a lifestyle around which the lives of these young boys are constructed. The Gotipua, alongwith the Mahari tradition are the precursors of the Odissi dance form. As the Gotipua dancers grow up, increasing masculinity and decreasing monetary returns force them to shift to Odissi. On 10th September, the film Dance Like a Man, directed by Pamela Rooks, starring Shobhana, Arif Zakaria and Anoushka Shankar, and based on the play by Mahesh Dattani, was screened. The film centers on the difficulties faced by classical dancers in India, caught in the crisscrossed lines of tradition and modernity. It shows with remarkable empathy the contradictions of being a male Indian classical dancer. In addition, the film also touches upon several social issues prevalent in modern times such as caste and ethnic discrimination, gender inequality, freedom of occupation, family and professional jealousies. On 11th September, a training session was held for beginners in the two dance forms of Kathak and Bharatanatyam. The session provided a platform for dance enthusiasts who wished to take a “trial run” before considering formal training. Students were taught the basic hand and feet movements as well as the nuances of classical dance. The student-members of Nupur also gave advice regarding suitable centres for training. The event saw participation from all three years and different departments of the college. On 12th September an Abhinaya Workshop was organized for the members of Nupur. It was conducted by Ms Priya Srinivasan, a Bharatanatyam exponent, trained under Leela Samson of the Kalakshetra Foundation. With the help of a power- point presentation, she discussed the nine emotions or rasas of abhinaya and then demonstrated the different nayikas and nayakas as they are performed in classical dance. She encouraged the students to create their own way of expressing different situations which they performed at the end of the session.

Foregrounding ‘Colours of Peace’, the theme for Symphony 2014-15, the members of Nupur conceptualized and choreographed a dramatized dance performance of Kalidasa’s Ritusamhaara. The symmetry of six seasons, colours, ragas, talas, bhavas and rasas was woven into the coexistence and harmony of movements of classical dance, which was performed in the Inaugural programme on 4th February 2015.

On 5th February 2015, Nupur, the solo inter-college Indian Classical dance competition was organized, under Symphony. The competition was judged by Ms Namrata Pamnani, a Kathak and Dhrupad exponent, and Ms Sreyasi Gopinath, a Bharatanatyam and Nattuvangam exponent.

The students have participated at solo classical dance competitions at various inter-college and university events, and have been awarded at many of them. Two student-members of Nupur participated in the solo classical dance competition at Antardhwani, the University of Delhi’s Cultural Festival, among which one was awarded the Special Appreciation award. Students also received the Third Prize at competitions organised by Hindu College and Kamla Nehru College. Special mention is also made of a student who has performed at the Nadaneerajanam event at the Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple.