News & Notes

A vibrant dance season in Pune

I t is often observed that “Creative minds cannot avoid doing extraordinary things”. It was the year 2018 when three renowned dance gurus, Shama Bhate, Manisha Sathe (Kathak) and Sucheta BhideChapekar (Bharatanatyam) from Pune, Maharashtra, collaborated and formed an organisation called Shastriya Nritya Sanvardhan Sanstha (SNSS) to bring forth the beauty and knowledge of our classical dance styles not only for the scholars and students of dance but also to appeal to the sensitivities of the lay audience and the common man.

Since its inception, the Sanstha has brought together around 800 dancers of Pune through its various activities —celebrating World Dance Day, an annual dance season, competitions, displays and events at various temples and public places to reach out to the general public, providing insights into the world of classical dance to people from all walks of life in Pune.

This year, a vibrant week of Dance Season 2022 was conducted from 23 to 29April, enthralling Punekars after a difficult two years of pandemic gloom. The students had an excellent opportunity to kindle their creativity through various competitions while rasikas enjoyed the performances by dancers from various genres.

On 23 and 24 April, Sanchari—a festival of Films on Dance, was organised at NFAI (National Film Archives of India). The festival, which was first launched in 2017 by Neha Muthaiyan and Arundhati Patwardhan, has been integrated into the Pune Dance Season.

On the morning of the 24 April, an off-beat Trek and Dance with a flash mob at Sinhagad Fort saw a lot of enthusiasm among young dancers; this was followed by a ‘kavitta writing’ competition. A jati challenge and elocution competition were held on the 26th, for students from all dance schools across Pune.

On three evenings from 25 to 27 April, Tritatvam, a trilogy of dancers —namely Arundhati Patwardhan (Bharatanatyam), Rasika Gumaste (Odissi) and Asmita Thakur (Kathak) —depicting three different gods through three different dance styles at three different temple venues in Pune, took classical dances to the general public. Nine groups from different schools and styles of dance also gave performances as part of the show.

 On 28April, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan hosted a four-hour marathon of performances by dancers from 27 dance schools, presenting group choreographies from five different styles of dance.

The culmination of the dance season was a chamber concert by the five accomplished and senior soloists of the SNSS, presenting two compositions each, one choreographed by their guru and one by themselves. This was organised by Neelima Adhye as a tribute to her guru and doyen of Kathak—the late Rohini Bhate.

Cherishing a dream of taking classical dance to the masses, a wish to create a community of dancers working to bring the like-minded together to present the dance art in its best form, this dedicated, committed senior dance fraternity of Pune, led by Arundhati Patwardhan (Director SNSS), Prajakta Atre, Leena Ketkar, Rasika Gumaste and Manjari Karulkar is on the right path to success and glory.


(A dance teacher and connoisseur of music)