LAHORE: The Lahore Arts Council will take two major initiatives for the promotion of performing arts -- setting up a folk dance troupe to represent Punjab’s cultural heritage and introducing regular performances of parallel theatre.

For the last many years Punjab did not have representation when it came to folk dances in the absence of any formal folk dance group. The Punjab Council of Arts had one such troupe in the past, but it could not be revived. The Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture also does not have any folk dance troupe to represent Punjab’s rich cultural tradition in dance. Shakir Ali Museum, a regional office of the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) in Lahore, does have a troupe under the title National Performing Arts Group but it operates at the federal level as the PNCA is a federal institution.

The Lahore Arts Council is taking this step to have a permanent folk dance troupe that would work under the umbrella of the council.

Executive Director of the Lahore Arts Council Zulfiqar Ali Zulfi says that he is going to form a folk dance troupe to represent Punjab’s rich cultural heritage for this we are contacting various folk dancers and instrumentalists.

He said that Punjab had a magnificent enriched cultural tradition in the shape of different folk dances, such as Bhangra, Seraiki charmer, Lydia, and sunny and romantic tales, such as Heer Ranjha, Sohni Mahiwal and Mirza Sahiban. He said the council already has an Alhamra Academy of Performing Arts which is catering to visual art and performing art classes. He said the council would hire folk dancers who would perform both nationally and internationally and would give regular performances at Alhamra of their colourful dances.

Zulfi said the council was contacting different parallel theatre groups for their monthly performances at Alhamra.

“Many parallel theatre groups are interested to do regular performances at the platform of the Lahore Arts Council. After Ramazan, we will start holding parallel theater performances,” he said.

“We are lining out a structure for their performances; each theatre group could stage a play for three days every month.”

The council is taking the initiative of parallel theatre to dispel the impression that the council only promotes commercial theatre.

The council charges rent from the commercial theatre community which makes a big source of income for the council.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2022

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