Dancer Modhuboni Chatterjee celebrated 25 years of her journey in the world of dance with a fascinating performance in Kolkata recently. IBNS correspondent caught up with her for a quick chat on her love for dancing. Excerpts:
When did you start dancing? I started learning dancing at the age of 4. How has been the long journey of 25 years? My journey of 25 years with dance had been most fascinating and most vibrant with experiences. Most of them are positive , few negative, though they helped me learn to survive in this field with dignity and clear understanding of good and bad. Can you share with us any special memory that you cherish as a dancer and keep it close to your heart for the past 25 years? There are many memories, but the one I cherish the most when I look back is, after my Arengetram,the first stage appearance as a young dancer, my Guru Thankamani Kutty came to me with a glowing face and told me that it was the best Arengetram ever. I was only 15, and those words from my guru brought tears in my eyes. During your initial days in the world of dancing, who were your inspiration as a dancer? Yamini Krishnamurty for her majestic presentation, Sanjukta Panigrahi for her grace, Alarmel Valli for her speed and vibrant dance and Kelucharan Mahapatra and Virju Maharaj for abhinaya. Were you happy with your performance in GD Birla Sabhaghar this November? I am never ever satisfied with my performance till date. I dont think I shall ever be, and I dont want to be. Today, after so many years, how do the reactions of the audience motivate you? It really feels good if the audience react positively. There was one point of time when I used to perform only for audience. I was young, inexperienced of life and passionate about peoples appreciation, But with age and experience now I dance for my own happiness, for my own fulfilment. I just share my happiness with my audience and see the reflection of my sadhana in them. As a performer of classical Indian dance form, do you feel that Indian youngsters are moving away from such arts in this age of smartphones and Internet? Yes, unfortunately they are. This is the age of technology. Every thing is so easy available.Just press a button and you have every thing. Classical forms are like clay pradeep with a burning glowing flame. Soft,tender, yet difficult to keep the flame burning in this whirl wind life. It needs patience, commitment, love and dedication. Who has time??? How do you want to contribute to the world of dance in future? People now a days are very much in stress, in agony,and I found most of them are suffering from depression. They need to see beautiful things, positive things that will give them happiness and help them to think good. Dance is a form of meditation. I believe that if I serve this art form selflessly,it will surely bless me with the positive energy that will flow from me to others and give them peace and happiness. I am a happy person, and I want to see others happy too.I dont think much about future. I believe in present. This very moment I am alive. This very moment is the ultimate truth to me, and this very moment I want to be happy with people around me. What are your future projects? I am working on a project named Yashomotir chitthi, a letter of Yashomati. It is on a relationship between a lonely mother and he son. As a teacher, what steps do you feel should be taken by the government or other organizations to attract more and more children towards learning dancing and not only concentrate on their study books and syllabus? I think pure classical dance should be introduced to schools more and more. Performances, workshops, seminars should be arranged. Young people should be trained from their childhood to watch and appreciate pure classical dance forms. The real essence of our ancient culture lies in these art forms. It should be preserved with great care like ancient temples of India because it is our pride, our identity, our path to salvation. Images by Sounak Choudhury/IBNS.