Sharing a better idea
Sangeet Natak Akademi took a new initiative Sanchayan to share its collection with the connoisseurs of performing arts through the screening of video recordings from its archives regularly. Over the last six decades, it has built a large archive of audio-tapes, photographs, films and video-tapes on performing arts.
Ang Tarang: Mayurbhanj Chhau, a 17 minute duration recording was screened yesterday (25 April). It was directed by Jiwan Pani. Chhau traces its origin to indigenous forms of dance and martial practices. The natural beauty of Chhau inspired the communities inhabiting the region to live in harmony with nature. Stylised gaits called Chalis and Topkas resemble movements of animals and birds. The daily chores of village housewives were imitated as movements called Uflis or Upalayas. These, together with the martial techniques, comprising of the basic stances of Chowk and Dharan, constitute the fundamental vocabulary of Chhau.
It is traditionally performed and taught by the male members of the community. The training is by a Guru in an open arena called Akhada. The dance is also a family tradition. The transmission of knowledge pertaining to its various aspects of dance, music and mask-making is done orally. Though vocal music is not used in Chhau performances, the melodies are based on songs from the folk tradition of the Jhumur devotional songs of the Kirtan, traditional songs from Orissa and classical Hindustani ragas.