Hindi-Urdu FLTA Priyanka Chakraborty Rediscovers Indian Classical Dance at Wes

Priyanka Chakraborty, our Fulbright Foreign language Teaching Assistant for Hindi-Urdu 2022-2023 participated in the Spring Semester Concert of ‘World of Dance’. She performed Swarajathi, an 18th century piece and a popular form of Carnatic music. This 21st century rendition was choreographed by Professor Hari Krishnan of the Wesleyan Dance Department and performed with live music by students of the Music department. 

Coming from India and being trained in Bharatnatyam, Priyanka feels learning Bharatnatyam at Wesleyan helped her to rediscover this Indian classical dance form. While she had learned it in its stereotypical manner, this experience has broadened her perspective in various ways. She now looks at the dance form in a more inclusive, open and fluid way.

The performance was a mixture of nritya (dance) and abhinaya (acting) where a lover laments at being unable to be with the beloved and the distance between them before they are finally able to embrace each other with love.

The neutral black costume enhanced the structural eloquence of the dance form, bringing the rhythm and posture to the central stage.

Priyanka believes this performance has immensely contributed to her role as cultural ambassador as she found the path to unlearn and relearn.