Gaudiya Nritya exponent Rachel Priyanka Perris has mesmerised audiences with her performances both at home and abroad. The dance scholar, who recently completed her Masters of Philosophy under the Gaudiya maestro Mohua Mukherjee, is currently a lecturer at the Department of Dance, University of Dhaka (DU). She conducted a webinar on Sculptures of Gaudiya Dancers at Bangladesh National Museum on the Facebook page of Gaudiya Nritya Bharati on June 24. In a candid chat with The Daily Star, the artiste talks about her recent online initiatives, her future plans and more.
Tell us a little about the webinar you conducted recently.
There are different ancient sculptures and statues at Bangladesh National Museum. If you look at them closely, you will see that some of them are standing in dance postures. The Hasta Mudras, Sthanaks, Avinaya and Rasa of these statues are very similar to Bangla classical dance, known as Gaudiya Ntriya. The webinar highlighted the contribution of these statues and sculptures on Gaudiya Ntriya.
When did you last perform on stage?
My last performance was on March 15 for MujibBorsho celebrations. Soon after that, the whole country went into isolation.
Have you been working on any videos or virtual performances lately?
I started uploading online videos of my performances from home from March 26. The first video I uploaded was a duet, where my friend Ayan Mukherjee played the Rabindra Sangeet Akash Bhora Shurjo Tara on sitar from India, and I performed from Bangladesh. I also released my performance Krishnakali: A tribute to Rabindranath Tagore, where I collaborated with Joyita. I also participated in the Gaudiya Nritya Festival organised by Mitrayan Institute of Dance and Research and British Council's event Women of the World (WOW), along with many other online performances and fundraising events. I plan to start my online classes at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy soon and I will also be conducting my regular lectures with my DU batches in the upcoming weeks.
How are you staying fit, keeping up your creative energy and spending time at home nowadays?
Being a lecturer and a professional performer, I seldom have the time to dance just for my own joy. Dance gives me the wings to fly towards freedom. Fortunately, staying at home has given me the opportunity to dive back into my passion for dancing and also focus on my fitness. I am also spending a lot more time with my family, especially with my parents.