MohiniattamTroupe enjoys cultural exchange program
exponent, research scholar and choreographer Guru Nirmala Paniker and her
three disciples Sandra Pisharody, Umadevi and Sudharma spent 19 days in
Japan in the first Japan – Kerala cultural exchange for young artistes
2010. The three young dancers are studying in class X. They have been learning
Mohiniattam under Nirmala Paniker at Natanakaisiki Mohiniyatta Gurukulam
of Natanakairali since 2000. The Japan - Kerala cultural event started
on 21stAugust with the program of All Japan Children Folk Dance Festival
at Nihon-Seinenkan Hall.
troupe visited many schools and had cultural exchange programs. Odawara
City Hall, Kitazava Town Hall, Fukagava Museum, Mushika Kaikan, Masutomi
Kouru are a few other places where they presented Mohiniattam. They
also had the chance to learn the basics of Bun Raku puppetry, Kotho music
of Japan, piano music, traditional bamboo music etc. The three young artistes
were thrilled and share their experiences.
"After every program,
they asked us to share our experiences with them. I talked a few times
before a huge audience. It was the first time that I spoke before people
in such a big auditorium. Before the performance, there was a rehearsal
of that program on stage. That is uncommon in Kerala. The respect they
give artistes is very good. The Japanese audiences were keenly looking
at our art forms and trying to study Mohiniattam. We gave 7 demonstrations
and six stage performances. It was a great experience for me," says Sudharma,
a class ten student of Bhavans, Irinjalakuda.
workshop conducted by Nirmala Paniker
Sudharma and Umadevi
21, we had our first performance in Japan. It was a festival of students.
There were hundreds of children, who performed with us. Some of them really
amazed me by their performance and talent. We had a mind blowing experience
with the people who taught us Japanese 'Otomo Bun-Rako' traditional puppetry
done by girls only. The next day they learnt some basic steps of Mohiniattam
which is a Kerala art form. It was a different experience for them as well
as us. When you see Mohiniattam, it is very graceful, beautiful and swinging
and swaying but practically very difficult to learn. They arranged Kotho
classes (stringed instrument like our veena) and piano classes too. It
was an unforgettable experience and informative. What more can I say? To
spend nearly 3 weeks in evergreen Japan was a dream come true for me. I
must thank my Mohiniattam Guru Nirmala Paniker, my school (National School,
Irinjalakuda) for giving me leave to attend the festival, and my parents
for supporting me so much," says Sandra Pisharody.
"In Japan, I learned
a lot of things. First is the respect that they give to their language,
art forms, and their culture. Also, they appreciated our art forms and
artistes too. The audience in Japan was very supportive and encouraging.
It was amazing to see that how beautifully they obey the traffic rules,
and as a result hardly any accidents. We stayed for 3 days at Kyoto city.
We had a very informative visit to Okazaki Castle. It encased the beauty
and culture of ancient Japan. We had the fortune to see the Tokyo Tower
and Mount Fujiyama. I am really thankful to my school, my Mohiniattam teacher
Nirmala Paniker and my parents," says Umadevi Animangalam.
troupe in the Bun-Raku workshop
Japanese girls practising 'Kummi' (Thiruvathirakali)