On the occasion of the International World Dance Day, Spic Macay Bangalore Chapter will host Mudra — a celebration of Indian classical dance forms from April 27 to 30. World Dance Day has been celebrated on April 29 through promotion by the International Dance Co­u­n­cil (CID), an umbrella organisation within UNESCO for all kinds of dance. Among the goals of the World Dance Day are to increase the awareness of the importance of dance among the general public, as well as to persuade governments all over the world to provide a proper place for dance in all systems of education, from primary to higher. Organised by Spic Macay all over the country and in Bangalore for the second consecutive year, Mudra aims to showcase the richness of Indian classical dance forms to the student community at large by conducting programmes and interactive lec-dems by noted exponents at various academic institutions. This year Mudra will witness Kathak and Bharatanatyam performances by Sushmita Banerjee and Chitra Visweswaran.
Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth, (Spic Macay), is a nationwide voluntary and non-profit movement. It was started in 1977 by Dr Kiran Seth, an IIT professor and Padma Shri awardee. After the first concert in 1978 at IIT Delhi, it has now moved to thousands of educational institutions spread over 250 towns in India and 50 towns overseas, with over 2500 events conducted yearly, reaching out to over a million youth. Spic Macay aims at introducing traditional Indian culture to the youth of this country with a hope that the beauty, grace and wisdom embodied in it, dating back to antiquity, will become an integral part of their life, whatever may be their dreams and aspirations.
Sushmita Banerjee is a noted Kathak danseuse in India. She started her talim at the age of four in the Lucknow gharana and bloomed into a dancer of excellence. She had the privilege of becoming a beloved student of Ramnarayan Mishra. After his demise, she continued her training under Maya Chatterjee and Vijay Shankar. Presently she is under the guidance of Birju Maharaj. Sushmita is an empaneled artist of ICCR. She is also a member of the board of judges of the inter collegiate dance competition organised every year by Calcutta University. She is also amongst the few to secure distinction in Nritya Prabhakar examination. She has been doing extensive research in reviving old compositions of Wajid Ali Shah, the Nawab of Oudh. This will enrich Kathak and give a new dimension to Kathak. She has recently been awarded the Emeritus Fellowship by the Government of India for the same. She has also been awarded a grant from Government of India for her choreographic piece Pratiksha.
Some of her other noted choreographic works include Chakravyuha from the epic Mahabharata, Taal Tarang which is a fusion of north and south Indian percussion instruments, Sita from the epic Ramayana which has also been aided by Ministry of Tourism and Culture and Kumar Sambhavam from Kalidasa’s epic for which she was invited by Princess Chakri for a special presentation in Bangkok. Besides being an excellent Kathak dancer, Sushmita after completing her graduation from Loreto College, Calcutta has majored in English Literature from Calcutta University. She is also an avid golfer.
Deeply entrenched in the old Tanjavur tradition of Bharatanatyam, Chitra Visweswaran’s association with dance began at a very early age. Her first Guru, at the age of three, was actually her mother, Rukmini Padmanabhan, who was an excellent dancer trained in contemporary Indian dance and Bharatanatyam. Chitra undertook training in western classical ballet in London followed by training in Manipuri and Kathak in Calcutta. At the age of ten, she went under the tutelage of one of the best devadasis of Tiruvidaimardur, T A Rajalakshmi, under whom she trained for nearly 10 years. Her arangetram (first maiden performance) took place within ten months, an astonishingly short period to achieve this level of proficiency.
Chitra is as one of the most accomplished Bharatanatyam dancers and has performed worldwide in major dance festivals. She was the only dancer invited by the University of Madras to occupy the Rabindranath Tagore chair in Fine Arts.