MCC Harmony

An inside look at the people, programs, and projects that make our community so welcoming.

Nupur Jhankar: A Community Heritage

 

October 28, 2021

Windsor has known the Nupur Jhankar group of Indian dancers for the last 35 years. We are a fixture at the Carrousel of Nations every year and our friendships with all our communities have danced a life time.

WE MISS ALL OF YOU! PERIOD!

However, the laughter, fun and memories come brimming to the forefront when we think of all of you. The ability to share our rich heritage with each of the villages is priceless. Quite often we look forward to the announcer stating loudy: “Nupur Jhankar – the Sound of Bells is in the house”!

They used to say just the “Sound of Bells” years ago and now it has been Nupur Jhankar. Our family includes all the villages like the Scottish, Polish, Chines, Greek, Carribean, Filipino, German, Macedonian, Slovak Domovina, Romanian, Italian, Serbian Cultural Center and Serbian St. Dimitrije and the list goes on.

The warm smiles, the handshakes and of course – me teaching them dance moves are priceless memories.

In this tapestry of rich cultural heritage which is Canada we share our laughter joy and tears.

This time, I thought I would share information about our dancers. Many of them start when they are about five years old. They all spend two to three years learning the basic moves before they are ready to perform.

What does that mean? Well, the moms have to learn to dress them, attach long braids to their short hair and adorn them with traditional jewelry.

The jewelry and costumes are hand made in Southern India. When I visit Chennai I get my tailor to stitch their costumes and my jeweler makes their jewelry. Their moms are trained to dress the girls and quite often the seniors help as they are skilled at dressing themselves.

The dance practices last from 20 minutes to an hour. It is rigorous, strict and detailed. The students have to focus mentally on the counting, patterns, songs and drum sections all while performing.

After twelve to thirteen years of training, a student completes her dance graduation called the “Arangetram” – which lasts two hours.

Carrousel, community fundraisers and celebrations have all been platforms for Nupur Jhankar dancers to perform and share their beautiful culture and heritage.

Senior dancers who have gone on to pursue their studies in Toronto, Hamilton and the United States have come back to Windsor to perform during Carrousel. They will always be part of the Nupur Jhankar family.

Together we are part of this community’s cultural mosaic as our rich heritage is kept alive through our dancing and the encouragement of youth to continue this beautiful art form.

These are unusual times but let’s not forget they are COVID times and this will pass! When we reappear again enjoy what we all know as Carrousel of Nations in this rich cultural nation of ours – Canada!

Aruna Koushik is a past Co-Chair of Carrousel of the Nations. She is also the leader, instructor and dance mom of Nupur Jhankar.

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