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Sheema Kermani

Sheema Kermani's Dance Company is an international touring group. They are available for group and solo performances in and out of Pakistan.

Sheema has her own Dance Company – it ccccomprises of her very well trained male and female dancers. The Company presents Folk Dances, Traditional Dances, Seasonal Dances, Classical, Contemporary and Modern Dance.

Solo performances on lyrics of great poets like Bulleh Shah, Ameer Khusrau, Meera Bai, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Group choreographies Kathak, Bharatanatyam and Odissi styles on poetry of Rabindranath Tagore, Allama Iqbal, Riaz.

Spectacular music- dance extravaganzas and Classical Ballets “Song of Mohenjodaro”, “Aaj Rung Hai” and “Raqs Karo”.

Sheema started training, at the age of fourteen, as a dancer with Mr. and Mrs. Ghanshyam (a couple from Calcutta, who had set up a centre for dance and music in Karachi), and she later joined their institute as a member of their staff and performing troupe.

Sheema Kermani was the only dancer in Pakistan throughout the years of General Zia- ul- Haq’s Martial Law, when dance came to be seen as an activity highly disliked by the state and the clergy. She stood up against great odds and continued with her efforts to establish classical dance as an art form and a profound medium of expression and communication.

After the general elections of 1988 when Benazir Bhutto came to power Sheema proceeded to India on an ICCR (Indian Council of Cultural Relations) scholarship to study dance. She lived in Delhi and studied the classical forms of Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kathak dance from renowned Gurus- Leela Samson, Guru Mayadaur Raut, Aloka Pannikar and Ram Mohan. Sheema has been teaching classical dance since 1980.

She has produced a number of very committed students who are now part of her troupe and perform with her all over the world. Those hundreds of students who have come and gone have at least acquired a brief exposure to an art form that is dying due to hostility from fundamentalist quarters. She also gives many talks, workshops and lecture demonstrations on the history, significance, beauty and importance of this art form. Her efforts have helped in the awareness and acceptance of classical dance.

Sheema was the first Pakistani dancer to be invited to the prestigious American Dance Festi­val’s International Choreographers Workshop in 1989 held at Duke University, North Carolina.

Then in 1997 she was invited to the Hamburg Theatre Festival, and in 1999 to the Nandikar Festival in Calcutta. Sheema has performed in many countries of the world including China, Egypt, Indonesia, U.S.A, U.K, Germany, France, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Bahrain, Sri Lanka and the Netherlands. Among her audiences have been personalities such as the Prince of Wales, the Queen of Thailand, the Palestinian Leila Khaled, Benazir Bhutto and Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis.

In 2006 she was invited by CND Paris for a presentation on ‘Dance in Pakistan’.

Sheema has done a great deal of research and written about dance as part of Pakistani culture rooted in the Indus Valley civilisation. This aspect of her work culminated in four major works, a classi-­cal ballet called “The Song of Mohenjodaro”, a unique experience of song, dance and music stating how dance was and is a part of our cultural heritage; “Aaj Rung Hai”, a tribute to Muslim musicians and dancers; a modern ballet entitled “Indus and Europa”, which is an attempt at evolving a unique style of her own; and “Raqs Karo”, a Contemporary Dance Performance based on the poetry of Fahmida Riaz, depicting the evolution of woman over the ages.

In 2005 Sheema Kermani was nominated as one of the “1000 Peace Women from across the Globe”, for the Nobel peace Prize.

Sheema worked as the Choreographer and Artistic Director of the Pakistan National Performing Arts Group, Karachi for five years till 2007. She researched and choreographed many traditional, folk and classical dances that have been performed all over the world by this troupe.

She has had international recognition. Her life and work has been written about in ‘The New York Times’, and also covered by BBC.

[Source: http://www.tehrik-e-niswan.com/default2.asp?active_page_id=81 ]


For more about Sheema, please visit

http://www.getpakistan.com/home/Celebrity/sheema.htm

http://www.empowering-youth.net/soch/ambassadors.php

http://changinguppakistan.wordpress.com/2008/11/24/a-dancer-and-activists-perspective-on-pakistan-an-interview-with-sheema-kermani/

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