THOSE WHO ALSO DANCE
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Who are these women- walking towards the sunset? Are they extensions of the beautiful and tortured geography of the place, broken too often by climate disasters? Or are they independent performers, artists, weavers, storytellers, and...so much more?
Those Who Also Dance aspires to know this from the women of the Sundarbans --- not through questions, but through conversations.
We invite you to build these conversations with us. Let us virtually enter the worlds of these women, invite them online and help them realize their creative identities within ever-expanding digital spaces.After all, digital divides can be breached faster than human divides and geographical boundaries.
Bina, Malati, Kalpana, Bimala, Kamala, Anjali, Gauri, Lakshmi meet at the water vat in the mornings and the late afternoons.
Some of them have smartphones, others have bicycles.
Their children -- especially the girls --Togorika, Sagarika, Rima, Mona often join them.
Their sons join them too, but only if they are very young.
Bina, Malati, Kamala and Anjali do not belong to the same group of performers.
In the Anpur region of Dayapur --- where they live -- there are 30+ such performance groups.
Women performers are a majority in the groups. Each group has one or two singers, singer-songwriters, dancer-songwriters, and musicians.
Sabitri says she is 70. She might be older but age is just a number to her and to many of her tribe.
She grumbles affectionately when the young and the middle-aged women are too shy to let go and dance with abandon in the workshops.
She throws care to the wind and breaks into a carefree wiggle. She wants the rest of them to follow.
By now onlookers have gathered. Some of them have never performed before. But they live in a locality of performers. Some of them secretly wish to hit the stage. Their families might not allow them to.
But those who also dance and sing
sometimes go missing in the mornings.
We ask around and hear that they have sailed down the river in their boats to get their day’s catch of fish.
All of them are busy in the fields in the early monsoons and the winters. And they tell us to not visit.
We won’t be able to rehearse our moves or songs now. How will we give you company? How will we learn from the workshops?
We understand their predicament and visit later.