After lying in neglect and disuse for over seven years, the Uday Shankar Academy in secluded Falsima,7 km from Almora Bazaar, will finally open its doors to the world with theatre workshops and dance and theatre workshops. Compositions on Kumaoni art and folktale.
The academy stands testimony to deceased dance maestro Uday Shankar’s legacy for this is where, during an extended stay from 1936 to 1942, he had invented a unique dance form that was a cross between Indian classical dance and the famous local ballet — Kumaoni Ramlila. He also carried out a number of experiments in classical dance and music during this time. His troupe included two celebrated Bollywood personalities – Guru Dutt and Zohra Sehgal.
Initially set for completion in 2005, shortage of funds delayed the academy’s launch in 2008 and again in 2015. Finally, in November 2015, Congress president Sonia Gandhi inaugurated the academy from Garurabanj during her visit to Almora district.
The cultural directorate of Uttarakhand is planning for a repertoire to inaugurate the academy, said Beena Bhatt, director department of culture, Uttarakhand. “Within 15 days, we will be opening the academy with a repertoire. It was sanctioned. We are involving NGOs who are working in the cultural field and local artists. Much of it is confidential at the moment. There will be dance and theatre workshops. Compositions on Kumaoni art and folktales will also be on the list. Uday Shankar’s styles and experiments too will also be showcased.”
The academy was sanctioned way back in 2001 by Jagmohan, then Union minister for tourism and culture, in response to requests from Kumaoni cultural activists and Amala Shankar, late Uday Shankar’s wife.
Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, the then President laid the academy’s foundation stone in October 2002.