A ballet to remember Rabindranath Tagore

Speaking to City Herald, St Aloysius College Vice Principal and PG English Coordinator Dr A Lourdusamy said that the department wanted to do something special to commemorate Tagore. He further added that he came to know about a Bengali Association in Mangalore and hence decided to approach them as they would know more about Tagore’s art and literature.

After meeting the Durga Pooja and Dussera Celebration Committee Cultural Secretary Puspendu Bhattacharya, it was decided that the committee and English department will collaborate and put up a cross cultural stage show and present ‘Rabindra Nritya,’ ‘Rabindra Sangeet’ and ‘Rabindra Ballet’ and hence pay tribute to the Nobel Laureate.

Rabindra ballet
Three ballets namely ‘Balmiki Prativa,’ ‘Chandalika’ and ‘Chitrangada’ will be performed. All the three ballets are the works of Tagore, but only selected instances from the ballet will be performed due to time constraints, says Lourdusamy.

The ballet which is a dance drama will be enacted by the students of St Aloysius College and the local Bengali community in ‘Shantiniketan style’. The language used in the ballet will be Bengali to keep the essence and flavour of the Bengali culture but translations in English will help audience understand the meaning of the performance, he adds.
‘Balmiki Prativa’ is a story of a renowned dacoit who turns into a pious man by the influence of a little girl. English literature student Vijayalakshmi Somayaji who is the protagonist of the play says that the ballet was challenging initially as the language and culture used was completely different but once she understood the meaning, she could easily relate to the role. “We have a great responsibility of introducing a new concept and art form to the audience,” she adds.

Deepika Shenoy who is the protagonist in ballet ‘Chandalika’ says that it all depends on expressions and how well you can relate to the audience. Rabindra Ballet is just not limited to music, dance or acting, but is a combination of all three, she adds.
‘Chitrangada’ is a story of love and beauty. It narrates the story of Arjuna and Chitrangada and through it, Tagore questions the conventional ideas of feminity, says the ballet protagonist Deepali Mallya.

Bengali is a melodious language. The grace and postures are beautiful. One has to have a classical touch in dance to put on a good performance, says Deepali.

Rabindra Nritya, Sangeet
The Bengali Association will sing some of Rabindranath Tagore’s songs and will also stage dance performances. The life and works of the poet will be introduced to the audience in the programme with narration and power point presentations, says Puspendu Bhattacharya.
The main objective of the programme is to forward thoughts of Rabindranath Tagore through a cross cultural programme, he adds.
Reema Das who works for an IT company is mentoring the students in the ballet performances.
Reema hails from Bengal and says that she had studied Rabindra art forms when she was in College. Rabindra style is my passion, she says and adds that she feels wonderful to teach her passion to energetic students.
“It is necessary to recreate interest in youth towards our cultural heritage and they should become aware of the greatness of men and women who have made our country proud. Today with the innovation of electronic media, people go in for transitory pleasures and modes of enjoyment forgetting the essence of our roots,” says Lourdusamy and adds there is an urgent need to search for our rich cultural roots and cherish what they stand for.

Eng Quest Twenty-11
St Aloysius College PG Department of English will be organising their inter-collegiate fest ‘EngQuest Twenty 11’. The fest will commence on February 26 at 10 am with a talk and will be followed by three events ‘Geeth Lahari’ (Singing competition), ‘Prashnamanch’ (Quiz competition) and ‘Yavankika’ (Drama Competition). The competitions are based on the life and works of Tagore.

Ballet time, venue
The ballet on the life, personality, philosophy and the works of Tagore will be held on February 26 at 6 pm at St Aloysius College Loyola Hall. The admission is free.

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