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A practical lesson in art and culture

Dolcy D’Cruz Lokotsav is one of the most happening events at Kala Academy, Panjim. The ten-day festival caters to people from different walks of life who get a glimpse of Indian traditional folk art and handicrafts with daily performances of folk dances and songs. Held annually in Goa, it is encouraging for students who get an opportunity to present their performances in front of a huge audience. Schools from various parts of Goa are approached by the Directorate of Art and Culture to present a one-hour-long performance in an effort to revive traditional folk art and performances.Mandita Naik, Cultural organiser, Directorate of Art and Culture, Government of Goa, is handling the participation of the schools from Goa. “This is the second year that we are organising programs in association with various schools. This year, we have four schools participating in the performances at the Open Air Auditorium, Kala Academy. We make announcements at the main stage of Lokotsav, informing the audience that the performance is about to begin and the crowd pours in. This year, we had folk performances from‘Baul’ dance from Bengal,‘Lepcha’ song and dance from Darjeeling and‘Bhawaiya’ song and dance from Alipurduar. For the school performances, we approach the theatre art teachers who have been placed in schools by the department to present a folk art performance that will revive it and create awareness among the children,” says Mandita.
Sanjay Mayenkar from Paliem is a theatre art teacher at Ideal English School, Pernem and though he had read about Dashavtari, this was his time to put his theoretical knowledge to practical use. “We had students of class 9 an 10 performing this folk drama. Their first performance was at the social gathering in the school. The students are fluent in Marathi and it was easy to pick up the lines of the script.‘Dashavtari Akhyan’ requires the artistes to follow rules and we brought two artistes from Maharashtra, including Deepak Rane, to teach the students. The play has boys playing the role of women as it was traditionally done. The entire village is excited about their performance and we had nearly two buses of audience drive into the city on the day of the performance,” says Sanjay.
Jayesh Bagkar is the theatre teacher at New Goa Education Trust, G S Amonkar Vidya Mandir, Mapusa, whose students presented atiatr.The 16 students staged a mini tiatr within one hour 15 minutes. “The tiatr is based on multimedia and how parents are giving gadgets in the hands of children instead of spending time with them. The students are acting in a tiatr for the first time and they are very excited about this traditional theatre form. The actual tiatrs include many acts and songs but due to the time limit, we have created a shorter version of the tiatr,” says Jayesh. The students are from Class 6 and 9.
Priyanka Naik Gayak from Canacona has been teaching theatre since 2011 and this will be the first time that her students at Shri Nirakar Vidhyalaya, Loliem, Canacona will be performing at Lokotsav. They will be presenting a folk dance called‘Perni Jagor’, which is exclusively performed by members of the Perni family. “There will be 40 students from classes 5 to 9 who will be performing a one hour show.‘Perni Jagor’ is an ancient mask dance, only performed by the Perni family from Poinguinim in Canacona. They perform this folk art at the‘Gadya Zatra’that goes on for a week, or at‘Toko’, another festival in Canacona. We received great help from the Perni family to put up this show as they showed us how to carry the masks and deliver the dialogues. The performance includes wearing the masks of Lord Ganesh and Saraswati,” explains Priyanka. The performance is accompanied by the music of ‘dhol’,‘tasho’ and‘jagat’.She further adds, “There are 8-9 main characters with the lead character of ‘Matari’ (an old woman). It is really sad to note that this form has been reduced from hours to just 15 to 30 minutes. We had to research about the folk dance when we learnt that this ancient dance form will be extinct if no one continues with it. We are happy that Kavindra Phaldessai took on the responsibility to write the script for this performance. I have witnessed the performance of this folk art but for the students, this form is something completely new and they were very enthusiastic to learn about it.”Lokotsav has also featured a Western Music concert with Pilar Music Academy, Agonda, Sankhasur Kaalo by Mahalaxmi High school, Bicholim and the last performance will be ‘Perni Jagor’ by Shri Nirakar Vidhyalaya, Loliem, Canacona on January 20, 2018 at 7pm. [H]

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