LAHORE: The Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) will expand the area of activity for its Lahore-based National Performing Arts Group (NPAG) and the number of local performances will be increased, officials told Dawn.
The NPAG, established on May 4, 2006, at Shakir Ali Museum, a subsidiary of PNCA at Lahore, has mostly performed in other countries on invitations by various cultural organisations.
The group had also been performing during the official visits of various heads of state to the city.
PNCA Director General Tauqeer Nasir told this correspondent that the key reason for establishing NPAG was to promote a ‘soft image’ of the country in the world.
“However, we shall also hold an increased number of performances of the group in the country too for the revival of rich cultural tradition of this part of the world,” he said.
Mr Nasir said the PNCA would collaborate with regional arts bodies such as the Punjab Council of Arts and the Lahore Arts Council to hold various evenings for the public to promote the rich tradition of dance — both classical and the regional.
He said a large number of performing arts lovers had long been missing such cultural evenings where they could enjoy a variety of dances in line with area’s tradition and culture. He said through the NPAG Sufi music having the message of peace would also be promoted.
“We shall also hold more NPAG performances at Shakir Ali Museum for Lahorites,” he added.
The 17-member NPAG comprising eight male and as many female performers, besides a tabla player, Zafar Dilawar, are the contractual employees of PNCA. Their six-month contract can be extended on the basis of performance.
Known choreographer Roshan Ara Bokhari is looking after the NPAG.
Ms Bokhari has learnt Kathak and Bharatnatyam dances from two best choreographers of their times — Rafi Anwar and Tara Chauhdry. She joined Shakir Ali Museum some four years ago. Her big contribution towards NPAG is that she has introduced fusion of various dances by mixing up traditional and modern trends.
“I have prepared my dance students for story-based dances when it comes to folk performances because it would create a great amount of interest in the public,” said Ms Bokhari, adding the NPAG had been trained to perform classical, semi-classical, folk, regional and modern dances.
“We are also trying for the revival of such dance forms which are dying away,” she added.
Shakir Ali Museum director Amna Pataudi told this correspondent that NPAG had performed in USA, UK, India, China, Sri Lanka and a few other countries.
“In China, in the South Asian dance competition in which 30 countries were competing, the NPAG team bagged the golden category award.”
Ms Pataudi said the NPAG had successfully portrayed the soft image of the country internationally and at the local level it would be helpful in the revival of dying forms of dance such as the classical and the regional dances.–Shoaib Ahmed