ON BHOOMIKA

Bhoomika Creative Dance Centre is a premiere national performing arts organization that has been in the forefront of infusing a new spirit in Indian dance since its inception in 1972. Initiated by a group of progressive artists, the centre evolved a dance company known for innovative and experimental choreography that has attracted critical attention in major festivals in India and abroad.

Core to success of Bhoomika has been the contributions of renowned choreographer, dancer and its founder-director Narendra Sharma who passed away in January 2008 after brief illness.

Mr. Sharma’s artistic lifespan covered a critical period in Indian cultural history from 1930’s onwards. Being taught by legendary dancer Uday Shankar at his Almora Center (1939-42), he began his career in pre-Independence days as part of the nationalist movement.

Consolidating his decades of experience in dance education, choreography and institution building, he established Bhoomika as an independent dance company to extend his artistic vision. Today, Bhoomika’s well-established repertory has modern dances, ballets and dance-dramas of Mr. Sharma, along with fresh works of younger choreographers.

Over the years performances have been given at major venues in India, Germany, Russia, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Thailand, Japan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. In addition, under the stewardship of Mr. Sharma, Bhoomika has mounted major events like Opening & Closing Ceremonies of Asian Games, New Delhi (1982) and Closing Ceremony of Festival of India, Moscow (1988).

The dance group also has a repertoire of creative dances for children and young audiences under its project Dance Theatre for Children. In addition, senior group members conduct regular workshops for children in schools and hold training programmes for teachers. A School of Choreography trains professional dancers and several Festivals for Young Choreographers have been organized to showcase young artists.

A Dance Archive is being set up that will carry memorabilia of the late choreographer as its first collection. This initiative will evolve into an audio-visual and research centre for artists and scholars.

On the 84th birth anniversary in September 2008 of the late choreographer, the main studio in East Delhi, from where the group operates, was re-furbished and re-named Narenjayan Studio. A Studio Event series was launched that presented new choreography, dance films, lecture-demonstrations and workshops to extend the appreciation of dance in public domain.

Three Narendra Sharma Festivals of Dance have been organized in recent years that have showcased exciting new choreography from all over India.


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Bhoomika receives support from Ministry of Culture, Government of India to run its professional dance company.

ON FOUNDER DIRECTOR, NARENDRA SHARMA



Divine Musician (1939)
Hailing from a village near Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh (North India) his first experience of modern world was at the renowned dance centre set up at Almora by legendary dancer and choreographer Uday Shankar from 1939-42. After his training in traditional dance, modern techniques and choreography, his career took several turns against the backdrop of nationalist movement.

His first assignment was to entertain Indian troops fighting for the British troops stationed in Iraq and Iran during World War II in 1945. Upon return he joined the Indian People’s Theatre Association’s (1946) Bombay Squad, dancing and choreographing in productions based on anti-British and nationalist themes. Thereupon, he choreographed for Indian National Theatre (1947), founded New Stage (1949), and spent a decade choreographing in commercial films in Mumbai before leaving the city for good to devote energies to artistic pursuits in Delhi after Independence.

In 1954, he began his seminal association with Modern School in Delhi for over three decades where he institutionalized dance education for children and the young. It his to his credit that today dance has become integral to school education in Delhi, leading to similar efforts in other cities. At Modern School, he choreographed close to 300 short and long ballets with school children on various themes, styles and forms.

Simultaneously, he strengthened the professional dance world by associating with key interventions in performing arts world that include choreographing ‘Shakuntala’ for Hindustani Theatres (1957); ‘Ramlila’, ‘Navprabhat’ and ‘Maha-Raas’ for Bharatiya Kala Kendra (1954, 1961-65); ‘Kamayani’ for Sahitya Kala Parishad (1970); massive Opening and Closing Ceremonies of Asian Games in Delhi 1982; Opening Ceremony with traditional dancers of Apna Utsav (1988); Reception in honor of Nelson Mandela (1990); and massive Closing Ceremony of Festival of India in Moscow (1988).

In 1972 he established his independent dance group, Bhoomika and produced more than 40 original works that have been critically acclaimed by press and public. Bhoomika has performed in all major dance festivals on contemporary dance and ballet organized by Sangeet Natak Akademi all over India since 1976.
He taught dance at University of Washington, USA (1965-66) and visited Russia, Germany, China, Central Europe under Cultural Exchange Programmes.

For his contributions to dance he was awarded Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, UP Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Sahitya Kala Parishad award and Soviet Land Nehru Award.

ON BHARAT SHARMA, DIRECTOR


Jacob's Pillow, USA (1979)

Having a career spanning almost four decades, Bharat’s formal training in creative dance and choreography began since the inception of Bhoomika in early 70’s under Narendra Sharma. He held the position of Ballet Master in 1979 and became Production Director by 1983. From 1990 he launched an independent trajectory and branched out into theatre, music and institution building in the arts, before rejoining in 2009 as Bhoomika’s new Director.


Bharat’s training in technique and choreography has extended to Mayurbhanj Chhau, Kathakali, Modern Dance and Jazz in India, USA and France, and visited Sweden to study cultural institutions.
As a soloist, he has performed at prestigious festivals, including American Dance Festival, USA; La Danse a Aix, France; Festival of Indian Performing Arts, Germany; East-West Encounters, Nav-Nritya Festival, Sangeet Natak Akademi Festival of Contemporary Dance in India. Earlier, between 1972-1990, he danced in all major national and international tours of Bhoomika’s dance company.

As a choreographer, Bharat has created dances for a range of forums and occasions. For Bhoomika his major choreographic works have been ‘Utthaan’, ‘Pathik’, ‘Kalaasham’, ‘Swapnakosh’ and ‘Nightingale’. He was co-director for Closing Ceremony of Festival of India in Moscow, 1988 and Opening Ceremony of Apna Utsav 1988, Delhi. He has also choreographed for annual pageants of Republic Day Parade, films and schools, and composed music for his own choreography.

As an administrator, he was Project Coordinator of Rang Vidushak, Bhopal (1991-93). Between 1994-99, he was part of the first team to build India Foundation for the Arts, Bangalore - an independent national grant-making institution. As a Programme Director, he initiated and steered the arts collaboration programme and monitored arts research and documentation grants.

Between 2000-03 he worked on a research project ‘Chaali: Highway Performance Circuits’ that attempted to evolve a support system for contemporary dance in South India to expand performance opportunities in the community. Between 2004-08 he was Reader (Associate Professor), Dance at the multidisciplinary Sarojini Naidu School of Performing Arts, Fine Arts and Communications at University of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.



BHOOMIKA'S ACTIVE REPERTOIRE

Dancing an Abstract    Choreography & music: Bharat Sharma

Rangavali
This dance has a nationalist element in its depiction. It has three colors of the Indian national flag and the 'Chakra' represented through the dancers. Movements revolve around imagined characteristics of each color by the choreographer and the centrality of 'Chakra' in the flag's formulation. This artistic interpretation is woven through individual and group movements in a triangular formation and celebrates the national flag as a symbol of our solidarity as Indians.

Rangavali
Choreography - Narendra Sharma
Music – Moni Das


Flying Cranes
Original version of this dance was made in 1940’s while the choreographer was undergoing training under legendary dancer/ choreographer Uday Shankar at his famous Almora Centre, Uttarakhand. He was inspired by the hand gestures in a film on Balanese Dances from Indonesia. He then developed movements of hands to depict the flying cranes, and later connected it to the images of the birds flying from Siberia each winter to north India. Rabinadranath Tagore explored a similar theme in his well-known poetry 'Hans Balaka' which has influenced the choreography. The new choreographic version is the latest one in several renderings on the same theme and movements over the years.This dance is an artistic tribute to the great Siberian Cranes and their journey across continents, as well as the choreographer's concern for environmental preservation.
Flying Cranes
Choreography – Narendra Sharma
Music - G.S Rajan



Antim Adhyaya
This long ballet was choreographed in 1984. The core theme focuses on the omnipresence of Death - as a complementary element of Life. Each dance elaborates on a specific theme, such as passionate love leading to tragic suicide; the dread people have to the very idea of death; of people getting untimely end in road accidents; adventurers like mountaineers getting involved in death-defying feats; women being subjected to death in ‘Sati’; excessive mechanization leading to industrial deaths; and a philosophical end where Death is seen as a beginning of a new journey into Unknown.
Each dance in the longer ballet was choreographed as independent pieces and was tied together as a full narrative. Excerpts that are being shown in this section introduce the theme in an abstract manner, leading to a delineation of a mourning sequence. The next dance is a comment on the vagaries of a mechanized age leading to industrial deaths, and the last section is a lighter interpretation of life on roads where accidents bring death to helpless victims.
Antim Adhyaya

Choreography: Narendra Sharma
Music: Sushil Das Gupta


Panchatantra ka Sher
This dance was specially created for young audiences. Based on a story from famous Panchatantra series, the narrative is centered on a Lion and Rabbit. A Lion, the King of Forest, ravages animals to satisfy his hunger. Animals come to an understanding that they will voluntarily send one animal for his meals. When the turn of the little Rabbit comes, he decides to play a trick, and is able to fool the Lion to his death.

Choreography: Namrendra Sharma
Music: Sushil Das Gupta
Panchtantra ka Sher

Kuch Kshan, Kuch Pal
This dance has been inspired by Indian contemporary and classical dance gestures and postures. These have been strung together to a fast paced rhythm and plotted in various points of space. The choreography consists of multiple abstract images, the exploration of bodylines in movement and the fluidity of dancing bodies in space. The dance is an interactive piece with a combination of movement improvisations and arranged dance phrases.


Kuch Kshan, Kuch Pal
Choreography: Tripura Kashyap
Music: Marco and Somesh




Nusrat Song  
This dance is a tribute to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and his music. An ode to love, it is an exploration of eternal values of Man and Woman, of Purush and Prakriti or whichever way one could view relationships.

Choreography: Bharat Sharma
Music: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Nusrat Song


Metro! Metro!
The choreography focuses on life around Delhi’s Metro, and ways it has brought about profound change in cultural life of city and public domain, helping the common man to live a more dignified life. Choreography is explores incidents and behavior patterns around metro’s daily run.

Choreography & music: Bharat Sharma


Metro! Metro!


Jatakmala
This dance is an artistic impression of readings of Jataka Tales of the Buddhists. In the original version the tales are over 540 in number and are written in the format of evolutionary cycle of Buddha’s previous lives. However, the tales touch upon a range of issues of its times – ecology, animal world, human relations and wisdom stories. The choreography, instead of depicting specific stories, has images and impressions of reading these tales, and elucidates underlying meaning to several common ideas that run through the narrative.

Choreography, music & design: Bharat Sharma

Jatakmala