Pundit Birju Maharaj in Dhaka
Iconic Kathak artiste and Indian dance guru, pundit Birju Maharaj, will conduct a five-day Kathak workshop in Dhaka, which will begin on June 21.
Leading Bangladeshi dance troupe Nrityanchal, led by celebrated dancers Shibli Mohammad and Shamim Ara Nipa, in association with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, is arranging the workshop.
Shibli Mohammad, the first Bangladeshi student of pundit Birju Maharaj, informed New Age that a total of 200 Kathak artistes from across the country will take part in the workshop. ‘Among the 200, we have selected 150 dancers from Nrityanchal and the remaining 50 are from other dance organizations, which are linked with Nrityanchal. We have included participants from other organisations to spread the knowledge they would gain from the workshop beyond the boundaries of Nrityanchal.’
According to Shibli, after finishing the workshop, participating artistes will present the dance drama ‘Bidai Abhishap’, a much acclaimed dance-drama based on Tagore’s poem with the same title, at the National Theatre Hall of BSA on June 25.
‘The dance drama will be a pure kathak piece, directed by pundit Birju Maharaj. He will also perform in the programme, along with his disciple Shaswati Sen’ said Shibli.
Shibli further added, ‘The presence of pundit Birju Maharaj in Dhaka is a rare phenomenon in the cultural arena here. The workshop would definitely contribute immensely in taking the practice of Kathak to a new height.
‘Pundit Birju Maharaj is currently the leading exponent of the Lucknow Kalka-Bindadin gharana of Kathak dance in India. He is a descendant of the legendary Maharaj family of Kathak dancers, which included his two uncles, Shambhu Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj, and his father and guru, Acchan Maharaj.
He took Kathak to new heights by choreographing new Kathak dance dramas. He has toured extensively across the globe, given thousands of performances and held hundreds of workshops for Kathak students.
Birju Maharaj has won many accolades, including Padma Vibhushan in 1986, Sangeet Natak Academy Award and the Kalidas Samman. He also received honorary doctorate degrees from the Banaras Hindu University (Varanasi) and the Khairagarh University.