Vol. 4 Num 61 Sat. July 26, 2003  

Hassan Imam
A prominent dancer of the country

It was in 1982, in Denmark", Hassan Imam recalls, "An international flower exhibition was going on in the Bella Centre where many performing artistes had come--dancers, musicians, actors and others--to attend an assembly. A troupe from Bangladesh was led by a renowned cultural personality Sayeed Ahmed. Ahmed requested Shamim Ara Neepa and me to perform the snake charmers' dance. I will never forget the overwhelming appreciation that we received on that day."

Hassan Imam is a prominent dancer of the country who has performed at over two thousand shows so far. His dancing lessons started in 1965 at the age of 12. Since then he has never stopped dancing. Hassan has learned dancing under his only guru G A Mannan for 26 years until his guru's death. He recalls, 'My guru learned dancing in the Little Ballet Troupe of India for 12 years and when he came back here, he established Nikkan Lalitakala Kendra and started to teach dance to the local students. I was also one of them.''I established an institute, named Shurangama Sangeet Academy, along with Shamim Ara Neepa in 1984," said Hassan, "although she is no longer with the institution now. Here we teach dance, music, tabla and guitar and offer a four years course on each subject."

Hassan Imam has been working as a dance director from 1994 both on stage and television. He has performed duets with many dancers like famous actress and dancer Anjana Rahman, Kajol Ibrahim, Zinat Barkatullah, Dolly Iqbal, Peenu Khan, Deepa Khandokar and Shamim Ara Neepa. He has also performed in many dance dramas like Nakshi Kanthr Math and Mahua, in trio-compositions like the snake charmers and the fishermen's dance. He has performed in the Nakshi Kanthar Math as many as seventy times and according to him it is his best performance in his dancing career. According to Hassan, the practise of dance in the country "has improved greatly". Trainers in Kathak, Odyssey, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri and others are adept in skill and style. They have received training from eminent gurus of India and completed their courses there.''But not all new dancers of our country are committed to this art", says Hassan with grief. 'They are very impatient for fame. When they realise that it will take long to become a famous dancer, they usually switch to other performing arts like acting or modelling. But the situation was quite different in our times.'

Hassan Imam received his first ever award for dance from the Bangladesh Cine Journalists' Society in 1998. He has received a crest from the Bangladesh Dancers' Organisation this year. As a dancer he has travelled to many countries like the former USSR, China, South Korea, North Korea, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Hongkong, Thailand, Kenya, Zambia, Malaysia, India, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Italy, the USA, Yugoslavia, Burma, and the UAE. He is now a staff performer of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.

Hassan's favourite dancers include Munmun Ahmed in Kathak, Shukla Sharkar in Bharatnatyam, Tamanna Rahman in Manipuri and Shamim Ara Neepa in folkdance."'For about 21 years, from 1972 to 1993, I was the only prominent male dancer in the media. And it is because of the audience what I'm today, the place I've reached today," says Hassan.

Hassan Imam receiving crest from the State Minister for Education Ehsanul Haque Milon at the National Dance Festival 2003 organised by Bangladesh Dancers' Association.