Natyashastra in Finland

pashaBy Sushma Kasthuri / Bangalore

"My mother was upset with me until a couple of years. She never liked me for my choice of a Hindu art" says Syed Sallauddin Pasha, a young dancer from Bangalore, well versed in both Bhartanatyam and Kathak. Pasha holds a bachelor's degree in Choreography from the Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography run by Guru Maya Rao and is also a student of the renowned Bharathanatyam guru Narmada.

Pasha is known for his unconstrained creativity, which is explicit in his stage & light design, costume designs, brochure designs and even dance choreography. One of Pasha's biggest dance productions is 'Ramayana on Wheels', a show that was done by the physically and mentally handicapped children of Spastic Socity of Karnataka. He is also working with them as a dance therapist and artistic director.

In another dance project 'Women of India' involved 100 hearing impaired children, which carried stories from 6000 BC to 2000 AD highlighting the divine and spiritual aspects of Indian Women. Pasha has toured Malaysia, USA, Canada, and UK and has worked as an international scholar at Cornell University New York. He recently toured Finland where he performed Kathak and Bharatanatyam and conducted workshops on the Natya shastra.

pasha2He was honored with the prestigious Governor's Republic Award and international award for peace and integrity at HELSINKI, Finland.

In his own words, Pasha shares his experiences with KutcheriBuzz:
"I was invited to Finland for the second time by the Ministry of Culture and by some cultural organizations as well. The audience there liked Indian dance and most of them wanted to attend Indian classical dance workshops. I conducted workshops on Natyashastra for theater groups and dancers in Finland.

Most of the participants attended the Natyashastra workshop for the first time in their lives. In 2000, I was the first Indian classical dancer to be invited to conduct dance therapy workshops for handicapped children. And this time, I discussed with the theatre students almost for two hours just about the types of stage and stage design in the Natyashastra. I was also excited to be at Finland this time where I performed in the same place where my guru Maya Rao performed 25 years ago and won a gold medal. I performed the same Tharana which she had performed then, and at that moment I was proud to be her student.

This time I also conducted a series of lecture demonstrations and performances at Jyvaskyla, where I met students from all over the world. Back at Helsinki I had an opportunity to work with Flamenco dancers from Sweden and an age old opera theatre. It was a fulfilling experience. My solo performances were held at Finland's most reputed cultural houses. I also got to witness the 400 years old European opera as well as Classical and contemporary Ballet performances.

I conducted a week long session on Bharatanatyam for Estonian Bharatanatyam dancers at Tallinn city and also performed there. It was indeed a very good experience. "