KALAMANDALAM, CALCUTTA & ITS PREMIER CLASSICAL DANCE TROUPE: PERFORMING WING

Shyama

Shyama

Kalamandalam Calcutta has been one of India’s most respected dance institutes for South Indian Classical dance. For more than 4 decades, the academy has been imparting dance training to students from Calcutta and around the country. WBRi caught up with Kalamandalam’s secretary Shri.Somnath.G. Kutty to know more about the founder, the institute and its Premier Classical Dance Troupe of Kolkata, Performing Wing.

Tell us a little bit about Kalamandalam Calcutta.
 
Kalamandalam Calcutta was founded in 1968 by Guru Smt. Thankamani Kutty and Guru Govindan Kutty as an Institution with the main purpose of imparting training in South Indian Classical Dances to intending students of Calcutta and beyond. The institution grew with leaps and bounds as its students won accolades and top prizes everywhere. Many outgoing students received scholarships from the Govt. of India, Department of Culture for further training. The institute's students/artistes have been performing regularly on prominent stages of Calcutta, India and abroad.

Shyama

(Guru Smt. Thankamani Kutty)

Shyama 

(Shri.Somnath.G.Kutty)


Guru Smt. Thankamani Kutty has received a number of awards for her contribution to the field of Bharatanatyam as a composer, choreographer, director and trainer.  It would be nice if you could share some of those with our readers.

Guru Smt. Thankamani Kutty has been awarded the “SHIROMANI PURASKAR” by Asian Paints in 1992; The "AKADEMY" award by Govt. of West Bengal; “KALAPRATHIBHA PURASKARAM” from “Kerala Sangeet Natak Academy” in the year 2006; “KELUCHARAN MAHAPATRA SMRITI PURASHKAR’  from  “Nandanik”  in the year 2007; Felicitation from “DAKSHINI BARTA”, a social organisation of Hon’ble Union Minister, Sri Priyaranjan Das Munshi, Govt. of India; Felicitation from “PATHER PANCHALI”, a social organisation of Hon’ble Minister, Sri Subhas Chakraborty, Govt. of West Bengal and Smt. Ramola Chakraborty and many more.


What is the The Kalamandalam Performing Wing?
 
The Kalamandalam Performing Wing is the Premier Classical Dance Troupe of Kolkata. The Performing Wing presents group choreographies, solo and duet in Bharatanatyam, Mohiniattam, Kathakali, Kuchipudi as well as traditional Kathakali performances. The noted productions of the troupe are the famous Tagore’s Dance Dramas in Bengali, set to the South Indian Classical Dance Styles which have been performed innumerable times to captivating audience on several occasions in different parts of the country and abroad. It needs special mention that the Kalamandalam Performing Wing had the rare honour to present Tagore’s “Chitrangada” in the presence of Hon’ble Governor of West Bengal, Sri M. K. Narayanan at Raj Bhavan, Kolkata on 4th September, 2010.

Shyama


Shyama

(Chandalika)

Does the Performing Wing travel abroad under your leadership?

Yes, it has been travelling abroad since 1983 and has performed in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia.


What are the different international tours that the Performing Wing has done till now?    
 
The Performing Wing has extensively toured Asian countries like Japan, Thailand, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, and Dubai. In 2003 it was in Nepal   to participate in the “Tourism Road Show”, for the “Nepal Tourism Board” and in 2006 it toured Singapore for Tagore Society to present the famous dance dramas Chitrangada & Chandalika. We went back to Singapore in 2008 for the same Tagore Society to present Rabindranath Tagore’s “Abhisar” and “The Monsoon”. And the last trip to Singapore was in 2010 where the team performed “Rituranga” - Season’s galore (Dances on Rabindranath Tagore’ works) University Cultural Centre, Singapore.
In Europe we visited United Kingdom quite a few times, once in 1984, 2008, 2009 and then again in 2010 with performances in Redding, Liverpool and London. In 2009 we performed at the M. K. Ananda Club, Milton Keynes and Leicester Probashi, Leicester during Durga Puja.
In 2008 we even toured France and performed Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam at the Guimet Musee National Des Arts Asiatiques, Paris. Australia, we have already done twice, once in Darwin to perform at India@ Mindil Festival and "Classic India" Concert and the next one in Canberra, New Castle and Adelaide in 2006 for ACT Multicultural Festival and others. We once again toured Australia in 2012 quite extensively and performed at Canberra, New Castle, Sydney.


What about your tours to the United States?


Well we have toured the United States In 1998 for many performances and Lecture - Demonstration in Kathakali, Bharatanatyam and Mohiniattam at India Club of World Bank and the Embassy of India at Washington, and also the Lec-Dem at Chhandam, School of Kathak dance, San Francisco, California. In 2009 we were in San Francisco, California for the North American Bengali Conference. 

Shyama

(Mahishashur Mardini)

Shyama

(Ritu Ranga)


Photo Courtesy: Shri.Somnath.G.Kutty, Kalamandalam, Calcutta.