Nipa researches on folk danceCultural Correspondence
For the last few years, Shamim Ara Nipa has been conducting vast research on Bangladeshi folk dance forms. With her great passion for folk dance, the dance diva is trying to popularise the folk genres like jari, lathi, dhamail, bratachari and more.
‘Folk are the only dance forms which are uniquely ours. To represent our heritage in the international platform, we have to know, practice and patronise folk forms, said the veteran dancer in an interview with New Age.
Nipa, under the banner of her dance school ‘Nrityanchal’, has presented several productions highlighting the folk genres, which had almost lost their glory in the urban setting. ‘I am still working hard to collect the backgrounds and steps of the dance forms so that the genres become well accepted amongst the dance enthusiasts all over the world,’ she said. ‘Initially, monipuri was a folk dance form, but gradually it became a classical form. We need to take steps to bring out our own dance heritages into limelight and shape them as classical forms,’ she further added.
Shamim Ara Nipa, one of the Bangladesh’s leading dance artistes and choreographers, has been successfully entertaining the dance aficionados for more than three decades. The highly versatile performer is equally at home with folk, modern and classical dance forms. She performed in around twenty dance dramas and has composed over a hundred thematic dance numbers. She has also specialised in dance costume design.
Born in Kishorganj, Nipa grew up in a culturally rich environment. ‘When I was a little girl, I was admitted to a dance school and began to participate in many school-level and district-level competitions,‘ recalled Nipa.
‘My first turning point was to get selected for a government-level exchange programme with Myanmar in 1978,’ she continued. ‘Then I continued to work in Dhaka for many shows and never had to look back,’ said Nipa. Nipa laments that many selections in recent days are not fair and the board often misjudges the students who deserve it.
‘Sometimes I find that selections depend on who knows who rather than who really a good dancer. The selection boards have increasingly become corrupt.’
Nipa said she and Shibli Mohammad, another leading dancer of the country, started Nrityanchal in 2000 with the dream to bring out not only dancers but genuine artistes who are aesthetic and practice dance by soul.
Nipa received many prestigious awards from national organisations, newspapers and magazines. She was voted the ‘Best Dancer of Bangladesh Television’ for three consecutive years in a poll organised by a popular weekly magazine. She has also received the Lux Channel I Performance Award, the Prothom Alo Award, the Bachshash Award and the George Harrison Award in New York (jointly with Shibli Mohammad).
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