Paying Homage To Uday Shankar, The Father Of Modern Dance In India

Paying Homage To Uday Shankar, The Father Of Modern Dance In India

During the period of struggle in Europe, performing in cabarets and living in a small loft in Paris, Uday Shankar picked up a book, 'The Mirror of Gesture', written and given to him by renowned art scholar Anand Coomarswami. Leafing through the book, he came across a picture of Nataraj, the 'Dancing Shiva'. He felt the urge to try the pose and went on to improvise the movements. Later, he used many of these movements in his compositions. On December 8, at the inauguration of the 'Uday Shankar Dance Festival' at Rabindra Sadan, Kolkata, his daughter, dancer Mamata Shankar, rued the lack of improvisation and creativity in today's dance performances.

More than 30 dance pieces, comprising solo, duet and group performances, will be presented in the four-day dance festival, which is being held to pay homage to Uday Shankar, the father of modern dance in India.

Organised by the West Bengal Dance Academy, the 'Uday Shankar Dance Festival 2022' features dance pieces including Manipuri, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kathak and more. Dancers and groups from across the country take part in the prestigious dance festival, which will be on until December 11, 2022.

"Creativity is a key element in dance. We have gotten a lot of entries, but we were looking for dance pieces with more creativity and originality. My father always used to say that he has paved the way. He told me we have been blessed with a body and mind. When your heart and mind synchronise, magic happens. Uday Shankar's dance style is all about creativity, authenticity and originality. A lot of people think fusion can work, but Uday Shankar created his style," said Mamata Shankar.

Renowned dancer and social reformer Alokananda Roy called Uday Shankar a visionary and revolutionary dancer.

"As dancers, we eagerly wait for the 'Uday Shankar Dance Festival' every year. It's a festival for the dancers, who come from different parts of the country. We also want more new talents to come up," she said.

An exhibition on the life and works of Uday Shankar is also on display at Rabindra Sadan. Veteran Bharatnatyam dancer Thankamani Kutty also lauded the initiative.

"The exhibition will help the audience know more about the life of Uday Shankar," she said.

Next Story
Share it