Wed, 26 Jun, 2019

Dancing to 2020... the way we did in 1920

The future of traditional dances may hang in the balance if more is not done to educate and revive the dances of old by generations to come

Story: Nalini | Sousa | 28th December 2012, 11:26 Hrs

December is the month of weddings. My noticeboard in thekitchen was pegged with invitations arranged date wise so as not to miss any.In the first fortnight of December I had one such wedding. As I was beginningto dine, next to the stage,  slowlysavouring the food, I heard the DJ announcing that they would now play a Mandoand requested all the family members, as well as the bride and groom, to gatherat the dance floor. I was quite excited about it because I had a Mando writtenfor my wedding and that was the first dance I danced with my husband. It is avery old tradition that has been followed for years in Goa; but to my surprise,at this wedding, I had a bunch of people jumping all around, clapping hands tothe sound of a kind of Konkani rock song with lyrics of a Mando!

“This is what I call –murdering the Mando” – I told myhusband. In my opinion all weddings don’t have to follow such traditions, butif they want to include this dance, do it the right way. I also wonder how manyof the guests really knew what was happening.

Another experience I had was with the schools in Goa. Havinglaunched the DVD “Dances of Goa” recently I thought it would be interesting totake these dances to the schools. I picked up nine schools from differenttalukas of Goa and tried to find out what  knowledge these students had regarding traditional Goan dances such asGhodemodni, Morulo, Fugdi etc. To my surprise many thought that Corridinho wasa traditional Goan dance. And even more surprisingly they didn’t know it wasbrought by the Portuguese to Goa. When I asked them from where, some told meSpain, Argentina, France etc.  Is itimportant to know it? I do think so. All these dances, including Corridinho arepart of our history, of our culture. The latter was recently introduced whencompared to other dances such as Tonya Mell or Taalgadi which have been part ofour folklore for more than 500 years.

Fortunately many of these dances are still seen once a yearduring the Shigmo parade in the cities. They are not danced like they would inthe villages, but at least people are aware that they do exist.

We should do a lot more for these dances aside from theShigmo parade and the Dhalo and Mando competitions that Kala Academy organizesamongst other activities.

An easy way to keep them alive is through the annual day inthe schools. When I asked the students what traditional dances they hadperformed during the main functions of the schools, most of them spoke aboutFugdi, very few about Ghodemodni and only one about Goff.

The Art and Culture department is doing a great jobappointing a teacher that goes to schools once a week to teach about Goanculture, but they should reach out to each and every school and impart the‘know how’ to perform traditional dances during the school functions. I metsome of them during my visit to schools and they seem very well prepared andenthusiastic enough to teach these kids.

You might ask, “But aren’t these dances too boring for thekids? Wouldn’t they prefer to dance a Bollywood jig?. You might be surprised,but when I showed them Jaagor being performed, the kids were laughing so muchand were so amused by it. Not only because of the performances but also becausein this form of theatre, women are not allowed to perform, and the students werevery amused seeing men dressed as women dancing and singing. When I asked them,what dance would they like to dance for the next annual day, many told meJaagor.

Since Goa is also very tourist oriented, hotels andrestaurants can also help in disseminating these dances by calling artistes toperform all year round. Which foreigner would not like to see dancescharacteristic and originally Goan? They will surely take a bit of the sunalong with the sound of the Dhol in their heart.

Traditional dances do have a future. It is up to us topreserve, disseminate and teach future generations this vital bit of ourculture.

Of Goan lineage, Nalini moved to Goa in 1998. She is amulti-faceted personality who delves wholehartedly into many projects andactivities in media and education. She was directed, anchored and produced over100 episodes of the series “Contacto Goa” For RTPi. Besides producing shortfilms for IFFI and series for local television under the Lotus Films & TVProduction banner, Nalini has been in the midst of most things Indo-Portugueseincluding owning a shop, ‘A Nau’. She is the president of Communicare Trust andhead of Lotus Libri, a publishing enterprise. She is married to Dr. BossuetAfonso and has two children, Anish and Maya

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