On the occasion of International Dance Day, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee praised her government’s initiative to promote folk dance forms of her state.
Through a tweet on Sunday, Banerjee, who is the chief of the ruling Trinamool Congress, said her government promotes 2 lakh folk artistes through the Lok Prasar Prakalpa programme.
“Today is International Dance Day. The #Bengal Govt promotes two lakh talented folk artistes, including Chhau performers, through the very successful Lok Prasar Prakalpa programme,” wrote the CM on Twitter.
Today is International Dance Day. The #Bengal Govt promotes two lakh talented folk artistes, including Chhau performers, through the very successful Lok Prasar Prakalpa programme
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) April 29, 2018
Lok Prasar Prakalpa is run by the state’s Department of Information and Cultural Affairs. The flagship project aims to uphold the traditional folk forms of West Bengal, revive nearly-extinct folk-forms of art and culture, and uplift the socio-economic conditions of artists associated with folk culture.
The programme also aims to issue identity cards to folk artistes. According to the government, 1,94,300 artistes have been provided with identity cards across the state and about 8,596 artistes above the age of 60 are receiving Rs. 1000 per month as pension.
Chhau is a semi-classical Indian folk dance form with roots in Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The dance form is martial in nature through which dancers recreate stories from Hindu epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The Chhau form of West Bengal is called Purulia Chhau due to its origin in the Purulia district of the state.
Gaudiya Nritya, a devotional dance, is another form of folk dance popular in West Bengal.