(Last Updated on : 25/11/2010)
Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe is a Kolkata based dance institute engaged in teaching and also performing choreographic presentations on diversified contemporary themes and folk forms of Indian dances. The strategic location of this dance school is in Hindustan Road of South Kolkata. This dancing company is named after the illustrious actress and danseuse Mamata Shankar, also daughter of the dancing Guru Uday Shankar and Amala Shankar. Mamata Shankar trains all her students prudently with all kinds of elaborate dance forms, often a fusion of classical and folk dance styles.
The Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe was founded in 1977 as 'Stradivarius' with a handful of young aspirants, forming a vocal group alongwith a few dancers. The group conducted its first performance at the Calcutta Television centre (Doordarshan) in the same year and the response was very encouraging. More youngsters in accord joined the troupe and enriched the repertoire with their contribution. In 1978, the group was renamed as "Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe". Since its inception, this dance institution has produced several noteworthy choreographic presentations. Over the past two decades, Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe has been able to carve a niche for themselves in the performing arts arena. Again in 2006, the group registered its name as "Mamata Shankar Dance Company".
The dancers of Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe follow the style invented by Uday Shankar, which has the intrinsic grammar of classical Indian dance and yet is pioneering, contemporary and not constraining with the anchors of rigid classicism. The graceful body movements of the dancers are blended with the expression of vibrant folk dances of India to attain a statuesque quality of lyrics and emotions.
The aim of Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe is to offer the aesthetic subjects with some innovative and authentic moods with a classic touch of royalty. Dance can instill the feeling of love and compassion, thus, giving a meaningful element to human emotions. It holds the mind and heart of the youth to the cultural heritage and tradition of the nation. Keeping this in mind, the troupe visualises to establish an institution where a unique form of dance style with Uday Shankar's method will be taught to the students. All these facets of the faculty in the troupe will help to develop fellow feeling, discipline, concentration and self-appraisement apart from providing an avenue to discover one's own self.
Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe has presented the contemporary India with some magnificent dance presentations. "Amritasya Putra" is one such presentation by this troupe that reflects the theme of the five elements, namely Fire, Space, Wind, Earth and Water. The soul moves in various forms in the cosmic world before entering the human body. The world is a stage, where a divine play is on. Various forms of human emotions like love, lust, greed, desire, ego, hatred, jealousy, anger and violence are portrayed through the dance movements. In the conclusion, the dance troupe expresses that every human being is a spark of the Divinity and thus are "Amritasya Putra". Such are the unfathomable depths of dance compositions of the Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe.
"Chandalika" or The Untouchable Girl is a famous dance drama of Rabindranath Tagore, based on a Buddhist legend that has been further popularised by Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe. The dance of the troupe is choreographed in the Uday Shankar Style and the entire presentation reflects the revolutionary idealism of Lord Buddha and its impact on the common man. "Horikhela" or the Queen's Revenge is another popular show of Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe, presented in various locations. This is based on the poem with the same name by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and the theme upholds the cause of universal peace amidst sufferings caused by war. This is usually a 35 minutes presentation where the script is written by Mamata Shankar.
Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe popularises the ancient themes and legends in their own style of creativity that has not only attracted the audience but have also formed a typical genre of contemporary dance form in India. 'Kalmrigaya' or The Cursed Hunt is one such marvellous presentation by this troupe that is based on the lyrical composition by Rabindranath Tagore. The story is based on an episode from the great Indian epic 'Ramayana' where Dasaratha, the brave king and an archer of repute was on a hunting expedition with his band of kingsmen. Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe also celebrates different Indian festivals through their splendid dancing performances. Spring festival is one of these festivals when Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe performs in and around Kolkata. Besides this Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe performed a brilliant performance as "Milap" or Harmony that is based on a topic from Discovery Of India by late Jawaharlal Nehru. The theme of this presentation depicts conflicts between two generations when rural industrialisation contradicts the benefits of collective work. The script of this show, too, is written by Mamata Shankar.
Many such presentations of Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe have gained immense popularity all across the globe and the troupe has been performing in almost each and every country of the world for the past few decades. The applauded presentations of Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe include 'Aajker Ekalabya', "Prakriti' based on the theme of universal brotherhood, accompanied with Sanskrit chants and hymns; 'Shikar' is based on a famous poem by Sri Jibanananda Das, where the ravages of wild animals are projected; and 'Arghya' is a collage of choreographic presentations on various contemporary themes and folk forms.
Mamata Shankar has choreographed countless dances on music composed by Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ananda Shankar, Salil Chowdury, J.S. Bach, Philip Glass, Dr. L. Subramaniam, and traditional folk songs and so on. These dance presentations are usually executed through groups of around 10 to 15 members. However, solo performances are also done. Classes in Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe are allotted according to the interests and requirement of the students. The group has been offering the Indian society with some finest pieces of performing arts. The group size of Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe is increasing with each passing day and the institution assures to offer more of Uday Shankar specialties through their hard work and perseverance.