Dance:Revolutionizing Pakistani Theatre

By Faizan Masood

The audience was in awe of the performances, as the dancers synchronized their steps with elegance and finesse onstage. Being at ‘Moulin Rouge’ for the second time made my belief stronger that the performing arts industry in Pakistan has started blossoming. The musical ‘Moulin Rouge’, based on a Hollywood movie by the same name, was performed by our country’s youth who elevated the country’s reputation in these unstable times. Of course there have been others before them, such as the organizers of Mama Mia and Cinema Live, two very unique and outstanding musicals. It is only because of the inclusion of modern dancing in theatre plays that the theatre in Pakistan has been revolutionized.

Arts Council Karachi: Moulin Rouge sets the stage with flair through exquisite dance performances

Dance has always been an important part of most cultures from the very beginning. Throughout the world, as part of celebrations and ceremonies, entertainment and teaching, dance has served social, spiritual, artistic, and emotional functions. Dance became a permanent source of entertainment in plays in the early 1920’s, in Chicago. Broadway Jazz, a dance genre, originated in the West, in which humor and romance drives the drama into full of story filled with joy and entertainment. Broadway eventually established itself as standards in the international sphere of theatre and dance.

Theatre has its roots in Ancient Greece. It initiated the entertainment phenomenon of performing arts. Today Pakistan seems to show signs of a new attitude towards the performing arts, though tentative and gradual so far. The gloomy situation of the performing arts in Pakistan is beginning to change.

Lately new trends in dancing have emerged. Modern styles like hip hop, break dance, jazz, contemporary, salsa and bollywood combined with the mix of western dances are in high demand. A new line of business has appeared and opened up opportunities in this field. There are various dance institutes that are teaching people their desired choice of dance genres. Some go to such places to spend time, some seek a way to be healthy or fit, while the majority goes to build up their skills so as to get an opportunity to perform in theatre and ultimately pursue the profession of choreographers. Stage shows seem to look boring without sequential dancing. The theatre and dance that encompasses the major elements of performing arts has opened new ventures for business.

It brings great advantages to the society as a whole. First of all it opens up a vast opportunity for companies to promote themselves. Almost all of the plays are sponsored as the cost of financing these plays is quite huge. The lighting, sound, stage-set-up, props and costumes are all expenses that have to be borne. Therefore, companies sponsor theatre in the hopes of promoting their brands, since thousands of spectators come to watch these shows. Moreover, advertisements through the print and electronic media about the play helps these companies gain a certain share of market.

Secondly, the society gets to observe and invests in leisure which gives our country more confidence and helps establish love between each other. Often these plays have a meaning; the storyline is always built as such that elicits spiritual or motivational behavior. Most of the musicals address issues such as peace, unity, respect of environment and tolerance.

Thirdly, it raises a country’s self esteem. It shows that the country lacks no talent and can give an edge to edge competition to any country. It strengthens the company’s image. Pakistan has made its name in sports such as cricket and hockey, or let’s say, in producing graduates who have represented the country well in local and multinational companies locally or internationally. But now it is time when our country is going to prove itself as no less than any in the entertainment fields. Theatre is one and is believed to be seen as growing out from the baby stage. Dance compliments theatre and brings elegance in the stage which brings about delight to people.

Many dynamic individuals have started taking an interest in this field, and have received raving reviews. Hasan Rizvi directed and produced Cinema Live, a sensational musical revolving around the story of a couple, which received an overwhelming response by the audience. Another talented individual, Nida Butt, received honorary awards for producing works like Chicago and Mama Mia as her works captured the imagination of the audience.

Previously, dance was restricted to the classical style known as “kathak” genre, but due to the absorption of different styles and creation of a different blend of dance, the growth of our theatre industry has become more rapid.

The future of this industry lies in the hands of the youth, and currently the future looks very bright. Pakistan with its continuous modernization in dance will do wonders in the in the time to come. I would end by saying just this; stars that shine today illuminate the light to others making the environment glow and glow brighter reflecting upon the universe.

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