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Islamabad

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Afshan S. Khan
August 13, 2017

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Classical dance form explores contemporary meanings of life

Classical dance form explores contemporary meanings of life

Islamabad

The disciples of the renowned classical dancer Indu Mitha spellbound the audience with the very creative performance at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) here on Friday night.

The National Performing Arts Group (NPAG) of the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) also experimented a dance in the pure form of Bharatanatyam, the most authentic classical dance form in the South Asia, to present a creative visualization of the contemporary life. The thematic dance ‘barzakh’ showcased the life behaviours where the common people don’t find solace on either side of the life. They remain in between the negative and positive nodes quite confused and double minded.

The dance was performed by Amna Mawaz, Nasir Masih, Suhail Hussain, Sahira Kazmi, Sehrish Aslam, Sumbal Arshad, Javed Waris, Fouzia malik, Nazish Farooq, Fayyaz Khan, Amir Yousnas, Adnan Masih, Nayab Zahra, and Fahim Khan.

The lead performer and choreographer of the ‘barzakh’, Aman Mawaz, the disciple of the believed dance is the language that everyone can understand and the complex messages could easily be communicated through this form. She said the ‘barzakh’ is tale of some ups and downs of life that make your life unusual experience. It started from the body exercises of the NPAG members that finally converted into an experimental piece of creative dance. It was really some learning while working with the already experienced male and female artists.       

Bharatanatyam is a major genre of Indian classical dance that originated in Tamil Nadu. Traditionally, Bharatanatyam has been a solo dance that was performed exclusively by women, and expressed Hindu religious themes and spiritual ideas, particularly of Shaivism, but also of Vaishnavism and Shaktism. In the contemporary dancing, the Bharatanatyam provides a base for different type of dances in the South Asia,

Bharatanatyam’s theoretical foundations trace to the ancient Sanskrit text by Bharata Muni, Natya Shastra, its existence by 2nd century CE is noted in the ancient Tamil epic Silappatikaram, while temple sculptures of 6th to 9th century CE suggest it was a well refined performance art by the mid of the 1st millennium CE. Bharatanatyam may be the oldest classical dance tradition of Indian subcontinent.

Indo Mitha is the versatile dance guru teaching students from last five decades. She has promoted Bharatanatyam for decades in Pakistan. He disciples are practicing this art form all over the country. One of her talented disciples is Amna Mawaz. Indo Mitha has groomed several young women at the Mazmoon-e-Shauq School as well. They also took part in the farewell dance performance by Indo Mitha along her students. 

Nazish Farooq, one of the performers of the ‘barzakh’, said that “it was the first time that the NPAG members performed contemporary dance in mixed form of classical and folk format. It has been a style of expressive dance that combines elements of several genres and it was quite difficult. It requires more movement and expression. It was a challenge for us.”

Sehrish Aslam, another NPAG performer, said the experience has been unique and learning as well while working with an experienced classical dancer. Dance has always inspired me. My family did not approve of this profession in the start but with time they accepted that this is who I am.

Sumbal Arshad said that it was an honour to perform with the legendry Indo Mitha and learning the movements and expression in classical tradition.

Speaking on the occasion, the PNCA director general Syed Jamal Shah said I wish all the best to Indo Mitha on her last performance of her dance career. She has contributed a great chapter in the history of performing arts in Pakistan. He said the dance is a significant part of the arts that needs more promotion and support. The artistes of the NPAG have travelled abroad many times including their recent visit to China. Their performances promote Pakistan’s cultural face in across the globe. 

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