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EARLY DAYS :

Opening of Dakshinee Bhawan in 16th Oct., 1955 by Smt. Chitralekha Siddhanta

Dakshinee took off with only 12 students on its rolls and by 1955 had 600. It moved into its current premises at 1, Deshapriya Park West on 16th Oct., 1955 ceremonially inaugurated by Smt. Chitralekha Siddhanta, better known as the ‘Nightingale of Bengal’ at the time.

Dakshinee’s dance section named ‘Nrityakala Kendra’ was founded in 1950 with Smt. Seba Mitra as in-charge, at the junction of Lansdowne Road and Jatin Das Road.

 

Smt. Seba Mitra

1950-60: From its very inception Dakshinee had four functioning sections viz. the School, Dramatic, Cultural and Publication sections. To the Dramatic Section it owed pioneering enterprises between ‘50 and ‘60 such as scripting and staging Tagore short stories like ‘Haldar-Goshthi’ ‘Noshtoneer’, ‘Rashmonir Chhele’, while the Cultural Section produced works such as ‘Shyama', ‘Phalguni’ and ‘Arupratan’.

 

First Unit of Dekshinee

The same period saw the landmark event the Triennial Tagore Music Conference in the years ’51, ’54, ’57 and ’60. It was organized by Dakshinee with the assistance of AIR who came forward to broadcast the sessions live to reach the masses. With over a hundred aspiring and established artists taking part, these sessions were aimed at educating the listener and the learner about the nature and variety of Tagore’s musical compositions.

1960-’70 This period marked the Tagore centenary in ’61 which Dakshinee celebrated on a massive scale. The whole of Deshapriya Park was taken up and divided into 3 sections the ‘mela’ ground, a food court and the main performing arena. Apart from Dakshinee, many renowned theatre-groups and artists performed in this 22-day long festival.

Uday Sankar & Amala Sankar & Child Dancer

In 1962 Dakshinee went to Mumbai to raise money for the Bengali High School, Dadar, and presented ‘Phalguni’ at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chowpatty, and donated Rs. 45,000 to the school.

Between 1962 and ’72 Dakshinee’s student strength crossed the 1,500 mark - an unmistakable sign of the growing awareness and appreciation of Tagore music, thereby triumphing Dakshinee’s objective and motivating it to further feats.

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