On the eve of International Dance Day on April 29, Ekushey Padak recipient dancer and choreographer Minu Haque urged the media to showcase dance as a prominent performing art of Bangladesh.

Talking to Dhaka Courier at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Minu Haque, also the president of Bangladesh Dance Artists Association (BDAA), said that dance has come a long way since it was first popularised back in the East Pakistan days, with more and more budding dancers opting for classical and contemporary dance forms.

This, she added, needs greater exposure in order to lend credibility to dance as a major performing art in Bangladesh.

An executive member of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) Bangladesh chapter, she discovered her true calling at the tender age of six. Thereafter she trained under a diverse group of different dance masters throughout the years, which helped to enrich her own technique and understanding of the essence of dance.

Haque, who went to become one of the country's foremost exponents of the Odissi dance form, first trained under Dulal Talukder, who later went on to teach dance at Harvard.

Later she earned her Certification of Dance from Bulbul Academy of Fine Arts, where she was schooled by artists like Babu Ramsingh, Habibul Chowdhury and Rahijha Khanam Jhunu.

Her knowledge on different forms of dance has made her an important figure for the dance community over many decades.

Haque explains that though all dances have different techniques and forms that are more clearly visible to those with a trained eye, dance overall shares the same philosophy. It celebrates the unison of mind and body to create the beautiful harmony of movement, which in itself is a form of freedom.

As the president of BDAA, she has already made huge strides in overcoming roadblocks and demolishing the baseless stigmas attached to the expressive art form of dance.

Examples of her success are establishment of the first ever dance department at Dhaka University.

"This was a great victory for BDAA and all those involved, as we have been working tirelessly for years just to see this day; this is a great victory for artists everywhere," says Haque with pride.

Celebrating International Dance Day 2018

To commemorate the International Dance Day, BDAA had organised a week-long dance festival at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, which was inaugurated on April 23 by eminent dance artiste Laila Hasan.

International Dance Day is a global celebration of dance, created by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), the main partner for the performing arts of UNESCO. The annual date was chosen to coincide with the birth anniversary of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), the creator of modern ballet.

Laila Hasan said in her inauguration speech that "To promote and uphold the dance, it is necessary to work together. At the same time, we have to put the right emphasis on choreography."

Nilufar Wahid Papri, cultural secretary of BDAA, told Dhaka Courier that dance artistes of different dance troupes will participate at a Mangal Nritya on Sunday, a special dance recital seeking blessing for all, in the morning at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. Following the Mangal Nritya, artistes will bring out a procession from the academy.

Additionally, BDAA will honour eminent dance artiste and director Selina Haque with Nrityagurumata Rahijha Khanam Jhunu Memorial Award at the programme.

Besides, two eminent dancer-choreographers Amanul Haque and Golam Mostafa Khan will receive special honourary awards at the programme.

Following the awards ceremony dance troupes from across the country will perform at the event.

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