The beauty of the Black Swan
- Sulagna Mukhopadhyay
Pics courtesy: Anjika

March 30, 2013

A two-day dance festival was organised in Kolkata by Swar Sangam in collaboration with Anjika and Ananda Shankar Centre for Performing Arts at Kalamandir. The first day (12th March) projected Anjika’s production Ishano: The Black Swan, The Chosen One. Based on an Australian folktale, dancer Preeti Patel choreographed the piece. The following day (13th March) showcased Tanushree Shankar’s production We The Living, based on the poems of Rumi. Our honourable Governor MK Narayan graced the occasion on the first day and BK Birla along with Sarala Birla were present on the second day.

Black Swan’s beauty is not cherished by anybody like that of Odette in Swan Lake because of her colour. While the other swans live in a group and enjoy each other’s company, Black Swan is left alone in the pond. She fights against miseries which are inflicted by human beings on those beautiful swans. The story is somewhat similar to that of Tagore’s Chandalika who breaks all myths and barriers about untouchability and goes ahead. Here, Preeti uses the English version of Tagore’s poem Jodi tor dak shune keu na ashe (If no one answers your call, you must move alone). The script has been conceived by Preeti. Nature versus man is the main theme. The Black Swan is a metaphor symbolising the brighter side of life and its rule over darkness despite hindrances.

The performance kicked off with drummers beating drums to announce the beginning of the dance drama. The drummers performed with manifest skill and awesome relentless energy and received whoops of joy from the audience. Preeti has merged thang-ta with the Manipuri classical form in a unique way. While the swans danced the Manipuri classical style, the representatives of the human world expressed their greed, anger, hatred through the Manipuri martial art thang-ta.  Twenty dancers, including live musicians, soulful music, apt and colourful costumes and props along with brilliant lighting was a feast for the eyes of the connoisseurs.   

Sulagna Mukhopadhyay was trained in Bharatanatyam by Guru Thankamani Kutty and Indian folk by Late Botu Pal. She has an M.A. in Comparative Literature and has freelanced for various leading newspapers of Kolkata like The Telegraph, The Statesman and Ananda Bazar Patrika. She has written articles on dance and gender issues. She is a teacher of South Point School since 1996.