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Goethe-Institut’s ‘Contemporary Dance Festival’ held at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy

  • Published at 08:14 pm November 30th, 2018
Contemporary Dance Festival 2018
The festival began with the piece 'Trust,' which was choreographed by Mehraj Haque Tushar | Courtesy

This event was the continuation of the 'Young Choreographers’ Platform 2016,' initiated by Goethe-Institut Bangladesh in cooperation with the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. The project aims to provide a stage to the talented young dance choreographers and dancers of Bangladesh,and to help transmit their thoughts on their country’s current situation through contemporary dance forms and styles

After two successive evenings of dazzling dance performances, the first ever “Contemporary Dance Festival 2018” concluded on Wednesday evening at the National Theatre Hall of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. 

This event was the continuation of the “Young Choreographers’ Platform 2016,” initiated by Goethe-Institut Bangladesh in cooperation with the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. The project aims to provide a stage to the talented young dance choreographers and dancers of Bangladesh,and to help transmit their thoughts on their country’s current situation through contemporary dance forms and styles.

In her opening remarks to inaugurate the event, Director of Goethe-Institut Bangladesh Dr Kirsten Hackenbroch expressed gratitude to the Director General of Shilpakala Academy Liaquat Ali Lucky, for his outstanding support to the “Young Choreographers’ Platform” project, and for providing scope for artistic expressions of the young talents on stage.

She mentioned that the “Young Choreographers’ Platform” is the result of a four year-long cooperation between the Goethe-Institut Bangladesh and the Bangladeshi dancers, to explore sustainable paths for strengthening the contemporary dance scene in Bangladesh.

The eleven choreographers of “Contemporary Dance Festival 2018,” together with their co-performing dancers, showed the diversity of the young generations’ views to the society, and made us “listen” to their stories, imaginations, sorrows and aspirations.

The eleven choreographers of the dance festival were: Anandita Khan, Bristi Bepari, Md Eashin Arafat, Md Ariful Islam Arnab, Moumita Roy Joya, Md Farhad Ahmed, Mehraj Haque Tushar, Parvin Sultana Kolly, Snata Shahrin, Sudeshna Swayamprabha and Tahnun Ahmedy.

Md Ariful Islam Arnab’s performance was titled “A Struggling Identity,” and it perfectly showed the turmoil of conflict felt by an individual, when their own idea of sexual identity is not something the society finds acceptable. The piece showed the demands and discrimination that a society can impose on such an individual; rules that he/she must conform to, in order to become a part of their community and culture.

Md Ariful Islam Arnab’s performance was titled “A Struggling Identity,” and it perfectly showed the turmoil of conflict felt by an individual, when their own idea of sexual identity is not something the society finds acceptable | Courtesy

Regarding the inspiration behind “A Struggling Identity,”Arif told Dhaka Tribune’s Showtime: “I did not have to think long on the concept, as I have experienced it firsthand. I have always wanted to work with such a concept, but due to lack of platforms and my own apprehension for its reception in our society,I did not work on it before this event. I am grateful to Lubna Marium and Anushesh Anadil’s encouragement and support for realizing this performance.” 

In response to whether there is any injury scare for the acrobatic dance moves performed by the artists Arif said: “There was no injury scare for all the performers you saw today, as we are all professional dancers. To be a professional dancer we need to be well trained from a dance school, where we learn the techniques for the acrobatics we perform in our pieces. We can never fully prepare for an accident, but we practice really hard to ensure we do not make that one wrong step that could lead to an injury.”

In regards to the meaning of “A Struggling Identity” Arif said: “With my performance I wanted to express the instinct of identifying oneself. If I want respect from society, first I need to know who I am and then make peace with that identity. Through the piece I wanted to show the confidence required to identify and love oneself.”

Kirsten also thanked the artistic director of the festival Tomas Bünger, for his highly sensitive, caring and tireless mentorship of Bangladesh’s young talented choreographers and dancers.

Tomas told Dhaka Tribune Showtime: “All the choreographers already had an essence of the story they wanted to narrate through their performance. My job was to understand what each of them wanted to express, assess ‘their’ need for such expression, and then begin my support. I just guided them through the process of rehearsing, and helped in every little way to bring forth their idea to the stage. In some cases, I looked at their moves from an audience perspective, and helped them rethink those moves from a different frame.”

When asked if language was a barrier to communicate with Bangladeshi choreographers Tomas replied: “I think body language is the biggest communication medium of these projects. Even body languages differ vastly when the dancers are from different schools, but they remain same in some aspects. Since I am also a researcher for dance, I am always on the lookout for things that are common. While putting these together, I just looked for the common aspects between my dance schooling and theirs.”

Choreographer Parvin Sultana Kolly's piece was titled 'Imprisoned Freedom,' and it powerfully depicted the struggle a women still face in the status quo| Courtesy


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