Acclaimed Manipuri dancer Samina Husain Prema has been gracing the audience both home and abroad with her beautiful performances. The dancer recently performed at the acclaimed Mujib Chirantan programme with her dance troupe Bhabna and many other promising dancers from all around the country. In a candid chat with The Daily Star, the artiste shares her experience and a lot more.
Tell us about the theme of your recent performance at the ten-day Mujib Chirantan programme.
Our dance recital, ‘Dhonno Shei Purush” featured the legacy of the Father of The Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through poems and songs written by Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Shamsur Rahman, and Nirmalendu Goon.
Conceptualised by me, the choreography was scripted by Jayanto Chattopadhyay, and Suman Sarker arranged the music. The music was a medley collected from recorded performances by artistes of Chhayanaut, Jagoroner Gaan and Obhudoy Sangeet Angon. It also included poetry recitals by Jayanto Chattopadhyay and Dahlia Ahmed. I am thankful for the opportunity to present something different.
Who shared the stage with you in this performance?
I performed with members of my dance troupe Bhabna — and as it was a grand performance, I had to reach out to many other dancers from all over the country to execute my choreography. We started with 40 performers but unfortunately, 7 of them tested positive for Covid-19 just a few days before the performance. We were left with 33 dancers including myself for the performance on March 24.
How did you come up with the choreography, keeping the theme of the day in mind?
As this year marked 50 years of our independence and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, I tried to convey the message of equity, strength, and peace. After we had come across the Akram Khan’s production “Father”, everyone decided to opt towards his foreign essence. However, I decided to break out of the trend and opt for a different authentic choreography highlighting these aspects in traditional way.
How did you manage to prepare this huge group performance amid such a pandemic? What were the major challenges?
Firstly, due to having numerous performances at this grand celebration, I was unable to find enough dancers. We recruited dancers from outside Dhaka as well, and this is how I got my troupe for this performance.
I am thankful to Zeenat Afroza, who helped us a lot by letting us use Excel Academy’s premises to rehearse. After a month of hard work, we were able to complete our production.
However, all our efforts seemed to have paid off when Jayanto Chattopadhyay himself called me after the performance and said, “It could not have been better Prema…!”