with the Art
Maria Farih Upama
Courtesy: Maria Farih Upama
I was in Ideal School and College from first grade to fifth grade and then shifted to Willes Little Flower and was there all the way from sixth grade to my SSC (Secondary School Certificate) examinations. After that, for my HSC (Higher Secondary Certificate), I joined Rifles Public School and College. After completing my HSC examinations, I joined North South University and I'm currently pursuing my Bachelor's in English from there.
Most of my favourite memories from school, college and university revolve around dance. When I was in the fifth grade, Jatiyo Shikkha Shoptaho was held all over Dhaka where young talents were scouted and competed against eachother. I had won the gold medal in that competition and that was one of the most exciting moments from life at school. While in school, I also participated in Notun Kuri and even started acting and did my first advertisement.
After getting into university, I was very involved in all the cultural activities. In a short span of time, I played an important role in the cultural events and I loved and still love every bit of it. There is a competition called the SAUFEST held all over South Asia and young talents from all the countries in the South Asian region are selected from different universities to take part in this competition. After the pre-competition held in Bangladesh, I was selected to take part in the SAUFEST and that was probably one of my favourite moments throughout my journey in university. I even got a part in a movie after I got into university called 'Pita' and I would personally like to thank all my faculty members for being so supportive and helping me out through juggling studies, dance and acting as well.
I started dancing at the age of four and it has been my first love and passion since then. My aunt and cousin used to dance when I used to live in Munshiganj. My aunt was actually my first teacher. After I came to Dhaka, I learned from Anik sir. I was training mostly in traditional dances and just basic dance movements. Since Anik sir used to live so far away, he suggested that I start training under Kabirul Islam Ratan. And that was it. Starting from 1996, I stuck with Ratan sir throughout and learned almost everything I have learned so far from him. Ratan sir taught me mostly folk and creative dances. I have recently joined Chhayanaut Institute of Art for a five year certificate course on Bharatanatyam under the tutelage of Belayet Hossain Khan.
Dance has always been my first priority. Whether I get into it professionally all at once or not, it will always be the most important thing in my life. All I want to do right now is learn as much as possible. I want to go abroad and get a diploma in performing arts and learn as many forms of dances as I can. I hope to come back one day and teach dances at orphanages around our country. I'm hoping to make dance a reason for the children to smile and use their creativity.
I believe if the love for dance is once born inside of you, your mindset and way of thinking changes. You will begin to feel free. You will want to spread your wings and fly. But one thing you should always remember is that becoming famous should never be your goal. First and foremost, learn as much as you can. Learn and learn and strengthen your base. Love dance for the art form that it is and give back to the cultural scene of the country in a proper and respectful manner.