Eminent Manipuri exponent Sharmila Banerjee and her daughter Sudeshna Swayamprabha Tathoi, religiously pursue and perform dance as a means of devotion. The mother-daughter duo were awarded recently in Kolkata, India. Kolkata-based Odissi exponent Avirup Sengupta’s dance organisation Adya Kala Tirtham and Prayas, conferred the Prayas Sammaan 2019 to Sharmila at Uttam Mancha in the presence of renowned film actor Rituparna Sengupta, director Reshmi Mitra and fashion designer Agnimitra Paul.
On the other hand, Tathoi bagged four awards, the University Medal (Gold), Nirod Baran Memorial Prize, Sunit Basu Memorial Prize and Asit Chattopadhyay Memorial Prize at the 44th annual convocation ceremony, securing the highest score at the MA (Dance) Examination among the students of all the seven dance departments under the Faculty of Fine Arts, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata. The brilliant dancer completed her MA under the ICCR scholarship.
A Chhayanaut Guru, Sharmila, also the director of Nritya Nandan, believes that learning dance requires a lifelong perseverance. “The world is wide open and we have much to explore. I always inspire Tathoi to learn, create, recreate and enjoy the schooling of all forms of Indian Classical Dance,” said Sharmila. “It was a matter of pride as a mother and Guru, when Tathoi’s name was frequently called to receive the awards at the ceremony.”
Dancer-actor Tathoi, also a teacher of Chhayanaut and Nritya Nandan, is trained in two forms of classical dance: Manipuri and Bharatanatyam. She also learnt Mohiniyattam and Odissi. Currently, Tathoi is taking tutelage from renowned Manipuri Exponent Bimbavati Debi and also working with her troupe in Kolkata. Even though dedicated to the beauty of classical dance forms, Tathoi has a knack for creative and contemporary dance, where she can blend mudra from different dance forms. “This generation wants to witness new and exciting art forms, and I believe creative dance opens up a platform to all dancers to let our imaginations run wild,” said Tathoi. “My life feels blessed to have had the touch of so many legendary Gurus and artistes in my dancing career, and to have my mother as my prime Guru to lighten the path for me to move forward with my dance.”