Mon, Nov 06, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Saving the planet, one dance at a time

With masks and flair, Indian dance aims to spur audiences to climate action

By Manipadma Jena  /  Reuters, KOLKATA, India

“Because climate change is already deeply touching everyone on this planet, Ekonama’s music... shows how art, when about a threat shared by all, can transcend cross-country borders, genres and culture,” Chakravorty said.

Following Ekonama’s international premiere at the Seattle International Dance Festival in June, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change newsroom also has publicized the piece, noting the contribution of art and culture in raising awareness about climate change.

“Science, economics and politics will be crucial (to building climate resilience) but so will new thinking and new ways of expressing the challenges and opportunities to both leaders and the public — something arts and culture can do in fresh and fundamental ways,” Nick Nuttall, director of communications for the UNFCCC, said at a seminar earlier this year.

Now the Sapphire Creations troupe is busy practicing for performances scheduled for Mumbai’s Contemporary Dance Season in December, and the Uday Shankar Dance Festival in Jaipur, Rajasthan, in February.

MOVED TO ACT

Performers say they have already seen those affected by the performance taking action on environmental issues.

“Ekonama made an environmental activist out of my mother. She now goes up to people at our apartment block and asks them not to throw trash everywhere, especially (one-use) plastic stuff,” said Bhattacharya, who is pursuing a master’s degree in sociology at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Saha points out that India, a country heavily vulnerable to climate disasters, needs greater public awareness of the need to act — but also policies to put that will into action.

“Performances like ours (will) help to open the climate conversation more in the mainstream,” she said.

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