Celebrated dancer and choreographer, Tamanna Rahman has been making waves in the Bangladeshi dance industry for decades. Starting her Manipuri dance journey under the guidance of Shanti Bala Sinha in Dhaka, she went on to receive advanced training under the tutelage of three monumental legends of Manipuri dance, namely, Guru Kalavati Devi, Padmashri Darshana Jhaveri and Guru Bipin Singh in India. Apart from being a stellar performer, Tamanna Rahman is also a successful architect. On the occasion of International Dance Day 2019, The Daily Star caught up with the acclaimed dancer-choreographer to talk about her upcoming projects, plans for celebrating International Dance Day, and more.
What significance does International Dance Day carry for you, as a Bangladeshi artist?
I cherish International Dance Day wholeheartedly, as it unites me with dancers from all over the globe in celebration of dance itself. Knowing that this day is dedicated to me and my passion for dance makes me ecstatic.
What are your plans on International Dance Day this year?
Keeping up with our annual tradition for International Dance Day, Bangladesh Nritya Shilpi Sangstha (BNSS), in collaboration with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), is hosting a seven-day long festival from April 23-29 at the BSA premises. On International Dance Day, April 29, I will be performing with around thirty artistes from my dance company, Nrityam, at the grand finale of the festival, set to take place at the National Theatre Hall of BSA.
What upcoming dance projects do you have in the pipeline?
I am working on a new dance production this year, centered solely on Manipuri dance. It is based on a story from exactly 100 years ago, the year 1919, when Rabindranath Tagore experienced Manipuri dance for the first time in Sylhet. The performance had mesmerised him so profoundly that he decided to introduce Manipuri dance in the curriculum at Shantiniketan. I believe this was a significant moment in history, especially for us Manipuri dancers, and it would be my honour to memorialise this event through a dance drama on stage.
Is there a message you would like to share with the next generation of aspiring dancers?
First and foremost, I believe they should respect all dance forms equally, whether it be classical, folk, contemporary, or anything else. Looking down upon someone else’s culture or craft is unacceptable. Secondly, irrespective of their chosen dance style, they should invest time, energy and sufficient effort into learning it before rushing to stage. It is imperative that they remember – there is no alternative to patience and perseverance in mastering the art of dance.