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HIP HOP DANCE SHOW AT SHILPAKALA

Fusion brings total confusion

Punny Kabir

A scene from the performance on Thursday at National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpaka Academy.— Snigdha ZamanA scene from the performance on Thursday at National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpaka Academy.— Snigdha Zaman

That the trend of creating fusion in the branches of art has already become popular in Bangladesh was proved once again as a significant number of dance aficionados on Wednesday evening gathered at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy to watch a production offering the blend of hip hop, European contemporary and classical Bengali dance.
Choreographed by world renowned French and German choreographers-dancers Samir Akika and Andy Zondag, 16 Bangladeshi dancers performed at the dance programme which created a mixed reaction.
The event titled Dance in Resonance was the outcome of a two-week long workshop which trained a group of Bangladeshi talented dancers of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and dance organisations Sadhona and Mayabi (Chittagong).
Alliance Francaise de Dhaka and Goethe-Institut Bangladesh, in association with Sadhona, organised the programme with the support of BSA.
The dancers in complete western attires and shiny make-over presented the daily life of Bangladeshi youth who are inspired by western culture with the narration of their memorable experiences, expectations from life and surroundings and how they perceive their life. The stage decoration was completely different from the regular shows in Dhaka. To bring up the ambience of street culture which is the verve of Hip Hop, street hawkers selling sweets, balloons and toys, and rickshaw were there on the stage. The dazzling laser lights giving the feel of disco floor or night club also energised the dance numbers.
But, a large number of audiences seemed to be offended by the projection of the Bangladeshi youth while some welcomed the experimentation which is rarely seen in the dance arena here.
Lubna Mariam, creative director of Sadhona, said, ‘Hip Hop is not only a dance genre, it’s a culture which was originated from Black American as a language of their protest. But the powerful music and uniqueness of the dance form made it popular throughout the world. Not only in west, hip hop has been welcomed in Japan, China, India and other parts of the Eastern world as well. The youth here is also inspired by the street culture highlighted in hip hop. The performance projected the reality of the youth of Bangladesh who want to protest against the so called “elite culture”.’
On the other hand, noted classical dancer Sharmila Bandyopadhyay, who witnessed the show, said, ‘It’s good to see that the young dancers who usually perform classical, Tagore and folk dance could nicely present Hip Hop and Western contemporary. But the blending was not reflected well and the part of our own cultural heritage was missing.’
She further added, ‘From my experience, workshops targeting public performances sometimes lack in training the participants properly as all of them focus on the final production rather to concentrate on learning.’
Many in the audience were also disappointed. Masud Rana, a student from Bangla College, said, ‘I am also part of the young generation but neither my friends nor I practise the culture projected here. I could not understand what they actually wanted to show us.’
‘The performers tried to give some messages. They raised their concern about eve-teasing, human rights, environment and others which could have been appreciable if they had presented it by upholding our own culture,’ said Rubina, a public service holder.
Sanjida Islam, a student of Stamford University, ‘It’s great to watch Bangladeshi dancers performing hip hop live. But, sometimes the projection was bizarre to understand what they actually wanted to depict. I think the blending did not work out.’




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