Month long workshop on classical dances
- Jintu Sarma

August 21, 2016

Saptaswa... the rays of performing art (a leading socio cultural organization) in collaboration with Jyotikala Kendra Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Tezpur (Assam), hosted a series of classical dance workshops during the month of July 2016. The workshop was divided into three phases. To conduct the workshops, special resource persons were invited. Hemanta Kalita, a gifted son of Assam, settled in New Delhi with his own institution Nrityangan is a noted Kathak dancer. Jayant Kastuar, former secretary of Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, is a Kathak exponent and specialist in abhinaya. Haricharan Bhuyan Borbayan, reputed Sattriya exponent of Assam hailing from Natun Kamalabari Sattra, Majuli, was assisted by Papul Saikia of Madhya Kamalabari Sattra, Majuli.

The first phase of the workshop was on Kathak dance by Hemanta Kalita from 5th to 8th July. The workshop was inaugurated by renowned dancer and actress of Assam, Krishna Das Nath. About 45 students participated in the workshop. A Saraswati Vandana, pure Kathak bols, a Meera bhajan, and a composition on Natwar Krishna were taught. On the last day of the workshop, Santanu Baruah, noted cultural activist of Tezpur, attended as guest of honor.

The second phase of the workshop was on abhinaya by Jayant Kastuar from 15th to 19th July. The workshop was inaugurated by veteran actor of Assam, Arun Nath, who gave an inspiring talk to the participants. About 25 students of all dance forms participated. Students benefitted by learning Ganesha Vandana, varieties of chals by different animals, Ram bhajan and most specially, a Borgeet. Kastuar taught imagination and elaboration of a special word of a Borgeet so differently that we could not imagine or present something like that in traditional Sattriya style. The final day of the workshop was Guru Purnima. The participants were taught about the significance of the day by the secretary of Saptaswa, Dr. Pratibha Sharma and by the guest of honour, Dr. Madhurima Goswami, an Assistant Professor, Department of Cultural Studies and also the head of women study center of Tezpur University. The students also offered special celebration for Guru Purnima.

The third phase of workshop was on Sattriya dance by Guru Haricharan Bhuyan Borbayan from 21st to 30th July. He was assisted by Papul Saikia. The workshop was inaugurated by Dulal Dutta, Principal of Rupkonwar Sangeet Mahavidyalaya and a Sattriya guru of Tezpur. In 10 days, the participants learnt Gayan-Bayan by girls (only one boy participated), Sattriya Ojapali, different traditional Sattriya dances. Saptaswa specially focused on Rajagharia Chali Nach with Geetar Nach, which generally does not get performed.

A total of more than 75 participants participated during the workshop. A final valedictory function was held at historic Jyotibharati popularly known as Poki of great Rupkonwar Jyoti Prasad Agarwala. The chief guest, Dr. Biren Das stressed that if the parents could not encourage their children, the existence of this classical form will be endangered and lead to extinction. Dr. Madhurima Goswami pointed out the decline in number of male participants though it was originally male centric. She said there are number of dance schools in Tezpur, but only few have participated in such kind of valuable workshops.

The program featured Gayan Bayan followed by Sattriya Ojapali. After that Ganesh Vandana, Saraswati Vandana, Meera bhajan, compositions on Natwar Krishna, Rajagharia Chali Nach, Geetar Nach were presented.  The resource persons as well as other dignitaries were honoured by Saptaswa and certificates were distributed to the participants.  Guru Haricharan Bhuyan Borbayan expressed his pleasure at holding such a fruitful workshop on the great gift of Srimanta Sankardeva to Assam.