A dance school for transgenders in Kolkata

Tuesday 03rd July 2018 15:33 EDT

KOLKATA: In an initiative to rehabilitate and empower the transgender community, Association of Transgender/Hijra of Bengal (ATHB) has begun a dance training programme, and plans to set up a troupe once the trainees perfect their moves. Dancer Alokananda Roy has come forward to train students at the Prakrati Dance Academy. The first class was held on June 26 in a classroom provided by Genius Kids in Garia. Shreya Karmakar, a transwoman who has been performing in dance bars to support her family, said, “I am looking forward to perform and earn in a more respectful way once we start performing in a troupe.”

Anuradha Sarkar said, “I had to become a Launda dancer to support my family. I faced sexual exploitation on many occasions so I hope this project will save me from a vulnerable life.” Despite being trained in Kathak and Bharatnatyam, the Rabindra Bharati University passout was not accepted in dance troupes because of her sexual identity. She has had to travel through Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha to perform at wedding ceremonies. “Some of them are really good dancers. I want to start it as a therapeutic venture. As people in this community have so much pain, I want to help them come out of their suffering. I will do my best to bring them to the mainstream.”

ATHB project director Ranjita Sinha said, “We will carry on with the training for about six months before we take up productions.”

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