The last few days have been like no other. Graced by the presence of Mr. Kuleshwar Kumar Thakur, the dance students of MYP 4, MYP 5, and DP 1 have spent the week getting to know each other, learning a new art form, and developing their skills as performers. With training and expertise in Yoga, Contemporary dance, and Chhau, Mr. Thakur has found his calling in the field of Chhau and other classical dance forms. With his background in these forms, as well as extensive study of mythological scriptures, he has created innovative fusions between various arts and cultures through performance. Mr. Thakur and his team at Yagna Performing Arts, invited by our MYP and DP dance faculty, came in to open our eyes to a new world of dance.
We started off as most dancers do: with technique. After a refreshing start to each morning with meditation and grounding exercises, Mr. Thakur took us through some techniques and vocabulary in western contemporary – deboules, animal flow, the works. By the third day of the workshop, we delved into a lesser known dance form, Mayurbhanj Chhau, and stepped out of our comfort zones with bold movements such as Chaunk and Uthan.
After learning some technique, we were encouraged to improvise and find our own flow of movement, later incorporating this improv in our group performance. Over the next five days, it was heartwarming to see all of us coming out of our shells as performers and becoming more comfortable experimenting with mundane props, such as books and chairs. The same combinations and phrases that we struggled with immensely on the first day were those that we showed the audience with confidence by the last. I wouldn’t consider it an exaggeration to say that we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without the support of Mr. Thakur and his team, who constantly pushed us to be our best – not to mention our fellow dancers who faltered and rose alongside us.
I find myself returning to my regular practices in dance and becoming far more elongated, strong, and creatively motivated than I was a week ago. I can say without a doubt that the same holds for all those who participated in this workshop as well.
Not only did the Yagna team bring to life their concept of Ekta (translation: Unity) through our performance, but the creation process itself united us dancers. Being in different batches and buildings, it was unlikely we would’ve ever interacted. This week of hard work resulted in an amazing performance and an even more amazing group of friends. I hope this event and journey inspires the younger students of MYP – who are yet to choose their portfolio subjects – to venture into the wonderful world of performance, and shows our school community the power that dance holds.
By Ananya Gupta, DP 1E