Wonders never cease. An event on such a big scale, and yet it started only minutes
behind schedule. Unfortunately for the organizers, their punctuality caught the
audiences unaware. By the time that the auditorium filled close to capacity, there
was only an hour of the program remaining.
After the mandatory speeches by the respective Governors of the two participating states, which too were surprisingly kept short, our CM came on stage to light the ceremonial 'diya'. And soon after came various troupes representing various states, and from all corners of the country, from 'Chhau' of the countryside of Bengal to 'Mahe' that is performed on the shores of Pondicherry. The stage was swept in the vibrant colors quaint to each of the performing states, as the dancers filled the audience with wonder.
But first on the stage was a troupe from the home state, performing a dance called Butta Bommalu. This gets its name from the masks made of bamboo reapers and tamarind seed. After this there were other dances and some spectacular show of martial arts - the traditional kind - with the dancers wielding swords and brandishing sticks at each other.
One thing that bound all these performances was the fact that all of them were in tune to the beat of some heavy drums. The pace and the moods of the dances were determined by the rate of the beat, and usually this was in control of the leader, who kept setting the pace of the performance.
This was the first time when such representative groups from all over the country performed under the same roof, and it was the endeavor of the Cultural Center of Nagpur to give life to its cherished objective of preserving, rejuvenating and promoting such valued art forms.
It is a matter of great concern these days that such exquisite and rare art forms are vanishing fast, with growing poverty and modernization of their performing troupes. Similar anxieties were voiced by all the speakers at the start of the function. But as long as such performances keep seeing the arc lights of reality, we can yet hope that our rich heritage will live on for much longer.