Dates Available for Touring
Contact Pentacle for availability.
Performers*: 2-7 dancers/4-5 musicians
Tech/Administrative Staff: 1
*Number of Performers dependent on program.
Repertory Available for 2017/18
Site-specific work to be performed in sacred spaces including churches, synagogues and other places of worship and reflection. In Pranamya, the company uses the language of Odissi dance to create a spiritual offering to be performed in various sacred spaces and places of worship around the world. Paying homage to the interfaith pluralism that exists around us and advocating a greater sense of shared spirituality. Originally a sacred ritual dedicated to the gods, Odissi is one of the oldest dance traditions in the world dating back to 200 BCE. Pranamya speaks of universal themes shared by all faiths – love and union between human and divine.
New Work (TBD) Premiering August 2017
Surupa Sen creates a new work that brings the classical music traditions of northern and southern India with Western classical music. Expanding traditional Odissi choreography by introducing a multicultural perspective, Ms. Sen collaborates with acclaimed violinist, Jennifer Curtis and musicians trained in Carnatic music (Karnataka samgita) from southern India and Hindustani classical musicians from North India, for a truly original evening of Odissi dance. Customarily performed to traditional classical music, by interweaving of these distinct musical genres, Ms. Sen brings a contemporary classical interpretation to one of the world’s oldest dance forms. In Feb-March 2016, Surupa Sen had a residency at Baryshnikov Arts Center in NYC to develop the work. Click here for BAC Residency footage
This evening of Indian classical dance features a repertory of Odissi dance arranged by artistic director Surupa Sen. Program can include sections of Sen’s evening length ensemble works including Sri In Search of the Goddess, Ansh, Sacred Space, Pratima: Reflection, Samhara, Samyoga, Songs of Love and Longing, and new works.
Songs of Love and Longing (Exploring the Gita Govinda)
Inspired by the epic Indian poem the Gita Govinda, Song of Love and Longing features a series of duets and solos that recount the love between the immortal Krishna and the human Radha described in the 12-century ballad.
A series of duets and solos performed by Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy. Samyoga is the Sanskrit word for: combination, union, synthesis; conjunction of two heavenly bodies. This evening of dance is the outcome of years expended in finding a balance. Of art and craft. Of strength and grace. Of technique and spirit. Confidence and vulnerability. Of a male godhead and his essential feminine divine. In search of the essence of Odissi, Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy dance together in perfect synchronicity, an artistry that can only emerge after 20 years of living and working together – complimenting each other and freeing themselves of enforced boundaries.
Introduction to Odissi. Participants learn basic phrases of abstract movement and the isolated body-training specific to Odissi, as evolved and practiced at Nrityagram. The class includes a short lecture on the traces and origin of Odissi dance, followed by a demonstration of the language of Odissi. Body positions and basic body technique are deconstructed and participants learn the “Language of Expressional Dance” which includes hand gestures and facial expressions. Participants are taught isolated body training based on the ancient texts of dance and theatre used by Nrityagram (Abhinaya Darpana and Natya Shastra) as well as select basic phrases. Class can be adjusted for trained dancers and non-dancers.
2 Day Odissi Workshop
An extended 2 day workshop is also offered where participants experience more in-depth instruction and create a short paragraph of abstract dance based on the phrases that they have learned.
Student Performance/Schooltime Matinee
Nrytyagram: A Dance Village Odyssey: Nrityagram Dance Ensemble transport students on a magical journey through time and space to Eastern India, the birthplace of Odissi – one of the world’s oldest dance forms. In this 50 minute matinee geared specifically for young audiences, company members illustrate the breathtaking beauty of the dance, demonstrating how it reflects the motifs of ancient Odisha temple sculpture as well as the poetry from the deep wellsprings of Oriya music. Accompanied by Nrityagram’s live music ensemble, this engaging show that includes audience participation will introduce students the language of Odissi, from body positions and basic movement to the “Language of Expressional Dance” with hand gestures and facial expressions. Excerpts of Nrityagram’s vast repertory will also be performed. A one-of-a-kind cultural exchange, students engage with India’s premiere dance ensemble and learn about daily life in the Nrityagram Dance Village. Event culminates in a Q+A session with the artists. Grade range: Grade 4 – High School. Study guides are available to teachers.
Lecture-Demonstration (75 minutes)
The Lecture-Demonstration serves as an Introduction to Odissi as evolved and practiced at Nrityagram and serves as a tool to explore Odissi from its origins to its present form. The lecture traces Odissi dance from its origin to present-day – specifically at Nrityagram. Company members will also demonstrate the language of Odissi. Body positions and basic movement technique are deconstructed as company members demonstrate the language of Odissi. Audience members also learn the “Language of Expressional Dance” with hand gestures and facial expressions. The event culminates in a Q&A session with the artists.
Panel Discussions & Artist Talks
Topics include but are not limited to: classical Indian dance, art and sculpture, spirituality, architecture, Nrityagram Village.
Post performance discussions available upon request. Due to the performer’s meditation practice prior to each performance, pre-performance discussions are not possible.
About Nryityagram Dance Village
The Nrityagram dance village is located outside Bangalore, India. It was founded in 1990 by Odissi dancer Protima Gauri, who converted ten acres of farmland into a setting for the study, practice and teaching of dance. At Nrityagram, dance is a way of life. Reminiscent of ancient ashrams where gurus imparted not only technique but also a philosophy of being, this is a creative space where dancers, musicians and choreographers live together, sharing their skills and developing their art. To enrich their practice, dancers are also taught yoga and martial arts along with Sanskrit and classical literature. As knowledge passes from guru to disciple, the continuity of the classical arts is ensured.
For almost two decades, Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy have researched and expanded the dance vocabulary of Odissi dance and have developed a style that distinguishes the dancers of the Nrityagram School. A unique blend of traditional knowledge with contemporary understanding and application makes Nrityagram the only institution of its kind in the world. The outside world, too, is an integral part of Nrityagram. Choreographers, movement specialists, sculptors, painters, writers, musicians and theatre practitioners from all over the world frequently visit the village to perform and conduct workshops and seminars in their areas of practice.
About the Company
The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, Nrityagram’s resident company, is regarded as one of the foremost dance companies of India. Led by Artistic Director Surupa Sen and longtime collaborator and dance partner Bijayini Satpathy, the company has achieved worldwide critical acclaim. In 2015, the company performed in front of the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The sold-out performances were included in The New York Times‘ “Best Dance of 2015″ review. In Fall 2016, the company was invited by choreographer and guest curator, Mark Morris to perform at part of his Sounds of India program for Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival.
The company is devoted to bringing Odissi – one of the oldest dance traditions in the world – to audiences worldwide. Performed as far back as 200 BC as a sacred ritual dedicated to the gods, Odissi speaks of love and union, between human and divine, transporting viewers to enchanting worlds of magic and spirituality. Its sensuousness and lyricism reflect both the motifs of Odisha temple sculpture as well as the poetry from the deep wellsprings of Oriya music.
Although steeped in and dedicated to ancient practice, the Ensemble is committed to carrying Indian dance into the twenty-first century. Enabled by grants from Arts funders, Nrityagram’s dancers not only explore creative expansions of tradition but are also able to commission fresh compositions from leading Indian classical musicians.
Surupa Sen, Artistic Director and Choreographer
Surupa Sen was the first student at Nrityagram, where she began her Odissi training with the late body language genius and architect of Odissi, Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra. She also studied Odissi with Protima Gauri, founder of Nrityagram, and Abhinaya with Smt. Kalanidhi Narayanan. As a child she studied Bharatanatyam to which she attributes her pre-occupation with form and line. Attracted to choreography from her first exposure to western makers of dances, she has worked with dancers and choreographers from across the globe. For over two decades, Surupa has worked with Bijayini Satpathy to research and expand the dance vocabulary of Odissi dance and together they have developed a style that distinguishes the dancers of the Nrityagram School. Surupa has performed, in solo and duet recitals and ensemble, across India and the world. She has created five evening-length Ensemble works for Nrityagram – Sri In Search of the Goddess (2001), Ansh (2004), Sacred Space (2006), Pratima: Reflection (2008), Samhara (2012).
Bijayini Satpathy, Director of Dance Education
Bijayini Satpathy made Nrityagram her home in 1993. Her initial Odissi training was at the Orissa Dance Academy, until she moved to Nrityagram. She has lived and worked there ever since. Bijayini’s research on the moving body in all its possibilities has resulted in a scientific body-training program that is sourced from Yoga, Natyashastra, Kalaripayattu, Western fitness methods and Odissi body-conditioning exercises. This makes practice of dance injury-proof and increases the performance life-span of a dancer. For over two decades, Bijayini has worked with Surupa Sen to research and expand the dance vocabulary of Odissi dance and together they have developed a style that distinguishes the dancers of the Nrityagram School. She has also developed an expanded, systematic and accessible training program for Odissi dancers, which is equally valuable for beginners, advanced learners, performers and Teachers. She has performed alone, and with the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, all over the world and has received national and international recognition including the 2003 Mahari Award, the Sanskriti award in 2007 and Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar 2007. In 2011 she received the prestigious Nritya Choodamani from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai. Bijayini works on extending the vocabulary of the traditional Odissi form and formulating Nrityagram’s dance pedagogy. She is also responsible for all outreach activities.
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