Prothoma Bhattacharjee has been immersed in the dance form of Bharatanatyam for the past 22 years. She has been a keen student of Bharatanatyam guru, Shukla Sarkar. She received both her BBA and MBA degrees from Stamford University in the capital.
“I joined Dhrupad Kala Kendra, under the tutelage of Shukla Sarkar and her late husband, Komol Sarkar in 1991. We went through the whole process of learning as is taught in India. We started with adavus and slowly made our transition into each Bharatanatyam piece and then we moved on to some dance pieces on Rabindra Sangeet and more,” she says.
Prothoma entered the world of dance at a very young age and had more than one helping hand to see her through her journey. Komol Sarkar had always played a very big role in her dancing career, whether it was saving her from getting scolded by her guru or treating her to her favourite snacks during practice.
Prothoma, along with Dhrupad Kala Kendra, got the opportunity to work for some great shows throughout her time in the institution, be it at Pahela Falgun at Ramna Batamul, or shows abroad.
In 2001, Prothoma was slated to have her Arangetram (debut on stage performance) but due to an unstable political situation it had to be postponed. Unfortunately, it did not pick up afterwards and Prothoma remained a student at the institution.
In 2009, she got married. Soon after, she had a baby boy and responsibilities grew. Prothoma was not able to give the same kind of time and focus to her dance. “I love my art, but I also love my family. Even though I want to take part in every show that comes up, unlike before, I have to think it through in terms of how much time I will be able to give to the show.”
Soon after her marriage, Prothoma received a scholarship from the High Commission of India to go to an institution in India and pursue her career in Bharatanatyam, but due to family concerns, she was unable to go.
She eventually returned to the dance world and remained with Shukla Sarkar at Dhrupad Kala Kendra.
“Even though I have an MBA degree, I know that if I get a job in that sector, I will have to choose between family, job and dance. I chose family and dance because these are the things I love most.” Since her scholarship did not work out, Prothoma plans to stay in the country at the moment and strengthen her skills under the guidance of her guru, Shukla Sarkar. “If I ever get the opportunity, I want to go to India for a while and learn other forms of dance. But for now, I want to remain a student under my guru,” she says.