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Linking Young Minds Together
Volume 5 | Issue 31 | August 07, 2011 |


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Star Chat

The Dancing Diva

Classical Dancer Arpita Shome
Talks to
Fauzia Sultana


'Mamoni' was what everyone called me at Rajbari, where I grew up. I went to Rajbari Government Girls High School and during my early school years, everyone knew me and adored me because of the toddler dancer that I was. I was a commerce student all along and wanted to be an accountant; but it was my parents' aspiration to see me evolve as a dancer. And it was this dream of theirs that motivated and drove me into dancing. After the completion of HSC from Rajbari Adorsho Mohila College, I applied for the Indian Government Scholarship to study dance at Rabindra Bharati, Kolkata. There, I completed my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in dance, specialising in Bharata Natyam. I then returned to Bangladesh and joined organisations including Shadhona, Chhayanaut, Kolpotoru, a dance school of Shadhona's. After that I along with two other renowned dancers in the country formed a dance school called Dhriti, where Bharata Natyma and Manipuri dance genres are taught. Besides teaching at Dhriti, I am also teaching at Shanto Mariam University of Creative Technology as a lecturer in the Dance Department.

I have many memories of the dance practices or performances, but there is this one incident that I think is funny and touchy too. Initially when I used to perform at the age of five or six, I always had my mother, back stage because her presence made me feel relaxed and comfortable and gave me the confidence to face the audience. So this one day, I look around and find my mother nowhere. I suddenly left the stage running, in the middle of the performance looking for her. I still laugh at this incident and at the same time miss my mother's presence during my performances.

In our country, dance or any other form of cultural activity has never been embraced wholeheartedly as engineering or business has been. To everyone, a degree in dance is considered mere business and I thought so too until I went to study at Rabindra Bharati. Dance is as painstaking and difficult as any other subject. It is very vast and one needs to study a lot to master it. Through dance, people from all over the country know me and recognise my talent and that feeling is overwhelming.

I am not much of a planner and I believe in what time demands. As of yet, my future plans are none, but whatever I do in the future, I would do it to take classical dance forward in our country.

As a teacher I face it often that students are keener on performing on stage to gain recognition instead of learning the art properly. Practice and perfection go hand in hand in dance or any other form of art. And it does not come in one or two dance classes but through years of practice. If one is good at the art, I believe he or she will be recognised anyway and so much more will be on their way.


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