BENGALURU: The river Ganga holds a special place in Indian history, mythology and culture. Now an ensemble of nine Odissi dancers will be performing a special dance sequence that will tell the mythical story of Ganga from her birth at the Gangotri glacier at Gaumukh in the Himalayas to her association with Shiva who held her to prevent the destruction of Mother Earth. “The journey ends with Ganga aarti as she meets Bay of Bengal,” explains prominent Odissi danseuse and member of the ensamble, Sharmila Mukerjee.
The troupe has already performed the ‘Tribute to River Ganga’ in other cities before, however this would be our first time that we will be performing the 15 minute dance sequence in the city.
While their performance will end with a tribute to the river, the first part of it will have pushpanjali and pallavi choreographed by Sharmila.
She has previously choreographed similar pieces like Vande Mataram and has worked with deaf students as part of a dance and movement therapy at The Oral School for Deaf Children, Kolkata. One of her remarkable works include a full-length dance drama with more than 50 hearing impaired children called the Ramayana.
“It is my way of giving back to the society and being associated with them,” she says. She has also choreographed works showing the importance of protecting the environment.
She has also worked at Sheila Kothwala Institute for the Deaf in Bengaluru. “It was a good experience. They taught me sign language and I taught them dance,” she says.
There is quite an audience for Oddisi dance in the city she says and recalled being one of the first to set up a dance class for Oddisi in the city. People from across the city would come to learn from me, she recounts. Right now, her students mostly include working professionals and full-time dancers.