Vol. 5 Num 613 Sat. February 18, 2006  

Farhana Chowdhury
Folk and modern dance are her forte

Though a relatively late beginner in dance, Farhana Chowdhury (Baby), a folk and modern dancer is well thought of in the cultural arena. She has made her name both as performer and teacher. Among the feathers in her cap are numerous dance recitals both at home and abroad with her in the main role--there's Nakshi Khather Mathe, Surajmukhi Nadi, Chitrangada and Shyama, among others.

As a member of the national cultural delegation, she has visited countries such as US, Japan, Thailand, Korea, Dubai, Qatar, Germany, Netherlands, India, Pakistan, Canada, UK, Australia and Turkey.

Farhana currently works as a dance teacher at the Bulbul Academy of Fine Arts (BAFA) and the BAWFA Academy of the Bangladesh Airforce. "It is heartwarming to groom young talents and sharpen their creativity," she says. On the whole, she says, the lively folk dance is her forte since "many Bangladeshis have their roots in the villages." Among her favourite folk dances are those of snake charmers, tea garden workers, dhol players, fishermen and harvest time.

She takes her art to distant corners of the country. She has performed folk dances in villages of Chittagong, Barisal, Mymensingh, Bogra and Noakhali districts.

Her talent has been well recognised. An enlisted dance artiste and dance director of the Bangladesh Television, she has bagged awards from the Bangladesh Television Spectators Forum, Shahco Telefilm, Shuktara Academy, Creative Cultural Academy and Chittagong Art College.

Although she admires the work of Sunny Mahapatra (from whom she learnt Odissi) and Shibli Mohammad (with whom she learnt the ropes of Kathak), she counts her mother, Rahiza Khanam Jhunu as her guru. The latter, once a teacher of folk dance at BAFA, now is the principal of the cultural organisation. Farhana becomes lyrical when talking about her mother, who taught her the basics of dance. As she says, "My mother's fluid movements are very beautiful." Another source of inspiration, she says, is her aunt Nina Hamid, a renowned singer.

Farhana is full of plans for the years to come. Along with her friend Sadia Islam Mou, a model and dancer, she hopes to open a dance school.

Farhana Chowdhury strikes an attractive stance