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Dance - Gaudiya Nritya

* 21 Nov 2022
Prof. Dr. Mahua Mukherjee, M.Sc., Ph.D. has done her  Botany specialisation in Cytogenetics from Calcutta University. She is the Professor at the  Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata and was the Dean of the same institute from 2013 - 2016. With  over 40 years of research work she has revived and reestablished Gaudiya Nritya, a classical Dance form of Bengal, which is more than 2000 years old along with her husband Amitabh Mukherjee. She has also  taught Gaudiya Nritya as a Fulbright Visiting Professor in Oklahoma Norman University, USA.
She has  authored around 19 books on  Dance and contributed towards making of documentary films - Dance of God ( 1997), Trance In Motion (2012), Ressurrection ( 2014, Parliament TV Channel), Gaudiya Nritya - Golden Glory A Classical Dance of Bengal, ( 2017, Sangeet Natak Akademi).

 "Gaudiya means old Bengal and the Gaudiya Nritya which has its origin in the Natyashastra, vanished from the scene because of lack of patronage and political disturbances. This", says Mahua Mukherjee, "can be attributed to the western influences on Bengal. While dance forms like kathak and bharatanatyam flourished, gaudiya nritya just disappeared." Mukherjee explains, "Gaudiya Nritya comprises chau which is a heroic dance, nachni which is shringaar form, kushan which deals with Luv Kush and has its roots in the Ramayan and the Kirtan, the devotional aspect. Her gurus have been Padmashri Gambhur Singh Mudha for Purulia Chau and Shashi Mahato for Nachni and Kirtannritya from Narattam Sanyal.

She has learnt in the guru-shishya parampara style and tried to imbibe the nuances of the dance form from them. Her performance was based on the drama form, which was a narrative of stories from the mythologies beautifully set to music and aesthetically breathtaking. "Gaudiya Nritya reflects Bengal's physical structure too. The Sunderbans, the paddy fields and the rivers flowing through it and the north, which is rigid because of the Himalaya, characterized old Bengal. Gaudiya Nritya is similar, it's both rigid and flexible". As Mahua Mukherjee remarks, "Everything in Bengal is rounded. Even the pronunciation of words is rounded. Similarly, even our dance form is very circular, with plenty of Chakkars."