Dance Groups

Dance Groups Dance as an art form was seldom practiced by Muslims before Gauhar Jamil set up a dance institution called Shilpakala Bhaban in 1948. After partition in 1947, despite the conservative tradition of the Bavgali society, a number of performers like bulbul chowdhury, gauhar jamil, Sajedur Rahman and Manmoy Dasgupta contributed to removing old ways of thinking and entertainment. Bulbul Chowdhury also formed a group. Ignoring the criticism of conservative society, female artistes like laila samad, Rokeya Kabir, rawshan jamil came forward to perform on stage and participate in dance dramas such as Shakuntala and Meghdut. After Bulbul Chowdhury's death (1954) bulbul lalitakala academy was established in 1955. In 1959 Gauhar Jamil established Jago Art Centre. The next year chhayanaut was founded. Subsequently other dance organisations were set up.

Bangladesh Ballet Troupe a dance organisation and school, established in the seventies in dhaka by Amanul Huq. Among its well-known productions have been Jvalchhe Agun Ksete Khamare (Fire blazing everywhere) and Battle of Bangladesh, both directed by Amanul Huq and with music by altaf mahmud.

Benuka a school of performing and fine arts, was established in Dhaka in March 1980. Its original name was Benuka Lalitakala Kendra. Muhammad Golam Mustafa was its founding general secretary and principal. Its executive committee is elected every two years. There is also a 23-member working committee and a 15-member advisory committee. Benuka teaches dancing, singing and painting. Benuka has so far staged 5 major dance dramas: Benukar Sur, Hyamilaner Bangshibadak, Bangla Bhasa Amader Bangla Bhasa, Bishvabhara Pran and Raktalal Ahangkar. Its dance performances include Shilpir Svapna, Bristi Amar Brsti, Tumi Sundar He Bidrohi, Saharar Sundari, Abhyuday, Char Dakhal, Bashariya, Krisanir Svapna, Jele Sapure, and Bede-bedeni. It earned considerable fame by staging a dance drama based on jasimuddin's Kabar on the occasion of its 20th anniversary. It publishes a souvenir every year on its founding day.

Dhrupad Kalakendra a dance academy, founded in Dhaka in 1983. Its founder-secretary was Kamal Sarkar. Mainly two classical dance forms- Bharatnatyam and Manipuri- are taught here. Under the direction of Shukla Sarkar, Bharatnatyam has become quite popular. There are now over a hundred students of classical dance who have been performing regularly on various stages. It has also staged dance dramas such as rabindranath tagore's Bhanusingher Padavali and Chitrabgada and maimansingha gitika's Sonai Madhab.

Dibya a dance school and performing academy, established in Dhaka in 1991 by Deepa Khandker and Ali Asgar Khokan. Deepa Khandker has been its dance teacher from the beginning. Dibya has been associated with various political and cultural movements of the country, presenting open-air performances at the shaheed minar and on roads. At present it has about a hundred students. Among its presentations have been shunya E Buke, Nimantran, Bhanusingher Padavali, Naksi Kanthar Math, and Svadhinata Golap Fotano Din.

Jago Art Centre was established in 1959 in Dhaka by Gauhar Jamil. Its first principal was Mir Kashem Khan. Later, Gauhar Jamil took it over as its principal. The centre has contributed significantly to dancing as a performing art in Bangladesh. Among its many presentations are Anarkali, Omar Khaiyam, Hafizer Svapna, Mayer Mukti, Samanya Ksati, Babglar Narir Hrday and Prashna. Rawshan Jamil, a former dancer and widow of Gauhar Jamil, supervised Jago Art Centre till her death in 2002.

Kathakali a dance school, founded by Alpana Mumtaz on 1 January 1971 at the Guide House, Dhaka. Its primary aim is to teach classical dancing. Among its major productions are the dance-dramas such as Chandalika, Janata Yekhane, Sabar Upare Manus Satya, Uttaraner Deshe, Nakal Saje Sajte Mana, Bidrohi Nazrul, Kaveri Nadir Tire and Bhanusingher Padavali. Currently it holds classes twice a week at Maghbazar Girls' School. The group also publishes an annual souvenir.

Kranti was established in 1967 in Dhaka. Its founder president was Barrister Hasan Parvez and secretary journalist Kamal Lohani. It is a progressive cultural organisation and played active role in the war of liberation. Its productions included the dance dramas, such as Jvalchhe Agun Ksete Khamare (Fire Blazing Everywhere), Ei Pathe Abhuday (Prosperity Lies This Way), Digante Natun Surya (The New Sun in the East), and Hartal (Strike), directed by Amanul Huq and set to music by Altaf Mahmud.

Nataraj was established in Dhaka in 1990 by Laila Hasan. Basically it is a dance organisation but has a drama section as well. Almost every month it stages dance dramas, dances and plays. Nataraj was the first to celebrate victory day at Shaheed Minar, breaking the ban on dance performances there. Its artistes have earned a lot of praise for their performances on roads, road islands, moving trucks, and open stages. Its presentations include dance dramas of famous poets like Rabindranath Tagore, kazi nazrul islam and sukanta bhattacharya as well as on such subjects as the war of liberation, the language movement, women's rights, killing of women, children's rights, human rights, famous women, and flood relief. [Laila Hasan]

See also dance; dance drama.