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Nutan Juger Chhando - A Review

Ranjani Saigal

Notun Juger Chhando was presented at the Marshall Middle School in Billerica, MA on Aug 28, 2004 under the auspices of Bengalis of New England. The presentation succeeded in engaging all the senses and reaching out beyond ethnic boundaries. The exceptionally dancing abilities of the group shone brightly under the direction of Aunabha Dhar and Samir Bhattacharya (Arun-Samir).

The presentation began with Ganesh Vandana. While the plot was traditionally Indian the movements were drawn from western dance. Uchhash or Ecstasy took us to the Indian villages where life is simple and pure. Proloy (Tempest ) was based on the concept that if we believe in the sacredness of creation we must accept the inevitability of destruction as the divine dancer Lord Nataraja also plays the role of destroyer so that new life may emerge. Alingon (embrace) explored the passionate relationship that blossoms into romance. Dola Re Dola was an adaptation of the famous Devadas number. Shringar(Adornment) was a dance that explored the beauty and elegance of jewelry and ornaments that Indian women have used to adorn themselves. Shikar (hunt) was a tribal dance. Shakti(power), Tarang(The Rippling Symphony) Aye Aye Ke Jaabi(Would you join me) and RajNritya set in the imaginary court of Lord Vishnu were interesting artistic creations.

The presentation was something new and very creative. All the dancers were strong and skilled. Arun and Samir of course were the stars and their intense training and passion for dance shone clearly. The costumes were beautiful and appropriate for each scene. Making such presentations demands a lot of creative energy from the directors. Whether it was the representation of the hunters or the depiction of the love making, the choreographers found a subtle, dignified and yet powerful way of conveying their message. Unlike traditional dance performances where the dancers perform true and tried items, each item was treading unknown territories and the choreographers are to be commended for their exceptional work.

“Dance is our passion” said Arun. “Our root is in Indian classical dance. I have learnt Kathakali from Guru Govindan Kutty and Samir had learnt Kathak. But we have also done workshops in contemporary dance with many western dance companies such as Paul Taylor Dance Company, U.S.A., Kevin Predmore of Battery Dance Company, U.S.A, and Nana Gleason of France. We use modern techniques such as Martha Graham technique from Jacquelyn Buglisi, U.S.A. and Lester Horton technique from Mr. Andre Tyson, U.S.A.

Does their work reach out to Indian audiences? “Oh yes. We are getting very popular. Many youngsters are learning or style of dance. I think since we dance more to music rather than lyrics we can reach out to audiences all over because music has universal appeal.

The event was attended by about 300 people. “I wish more people would come and support such quality presentations” said Roma Chattopadhayay, who was part of the organizing committee. “We would be happy to bring more Indian artists if the community supports the event”

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