Classes, Workshops and Lecture-Demonstrations are presented with live musical accompaniment by Nrityagram’s Music Ensemble.
Introduction to Odissi Dance Class
This introductory class is an opportunity to learn the basic abstract movement phrases and body-training techniques specific to Odissi, as evolved and practiced at Nrityagram. The company begins with a brief lecture that traces Odissi dance from its origins to how it is practiced today, specifically at Nrityagram. This is followed by a demonstration of the language of Odissi: body positions and basic movement techniques are deconstructed, and the language of expressional dance is explained with hand gestures and facial expressions; this could be participatory, especially for young audiences. To end the demonstration, the company brings the technique and language of Odissi dance to life through a performance of a dance piece. Participants are then taught body isolation techniques used at Nrityagram, including information from Abhinaya Darpana and Natya Shastra, which are ancient texts of dance & theatre. The class ends with the teaching of basic phrases that provide a brief but complete experience of the Odissi dance vocabulary. Running time: 90 minutes–2 hours.
Two Day Odissi Workshop
An extended two 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. Running time: 90 minutes–2 hours each day
Kandyan Dance Class
This class will give participants the opportunity to learn about Kandyan, an indigenous traditional dance form from Sri Lanka. Its origins date back to over 2500 years, however it is only with the emergence of Chitrasena in the early 30′s and 40′s, that this ancient ritual art form was given a new life adapted for the stage and contemporary audiences. The class will begin with a brief introduction to the history of the Kandyan dance, and how the Chitrasena dance style developed over the past five decades and is being practiced today. The class is designed to deconstruct and decode the abstract Kandyan dance vocabulary. Participants will learn some of the alphabets, basic word constructions, sentence structures and dynamic elements of the dance form like jumps and turns. By the end of the class, participants will be able to construct a longer sentence using the Kandyan movement vocabulary. Running time: 90 minutes
Based on Odissi Dance from India and Kandyan Dance from Sri Lanka, The Lecture-Demonstration is an Introduction to Odissi Dance as evolved and practiced at Nrityagram & Kandyan Dance as developed and practiced by the Chitrasena Dance School. The presentation will begin with a brief lecture on the unique history and evolution of both dance forms and a demonstration of the unique technical features of both. This is to establish the cultural commonality and differences that influence both dance traditions and how they can come together in one performance space. These technical differences are demonstrated separately through music, rhythms, basic body positions, basic movement vocabulary and nuances such as walks, spins and jumps. This is followed by a demonstration of hand gestures, facial expressions and stylized body language – techniques unique to Odissi, which are used to tell stories. (This could be participatory, especially for young audiences). Finally the technique and language of Odissi and Kandyan dance is brought to life through presentation of short dance sequences in each forms and a collaborative section from Saṃhāra. The event culminates in a Q&A session with the company. Running time: 75 minutes + 15 minute Q&A
Schooltime Matinee: Dance Village Odyssey
In this one-of-a-kind cultural exchange, The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble transports students on a magical journey through time and space to Eastern India, the birthplace of Odissi (one of the world’s oldest classical dance forms) and to the island of Sri Lanka, home to Kandyan dance (an ancient folk dance ritual). Geared for young audiences, company members illustrate the breathtaking beauty of both dance forms, demonstrating how each reflects the culture of their homeland and thus the differences that set each apart. Accompanied by Nrityagram’s live music ensemble and a Kandyan drummer, this engaging show includes audience participation and introduces students to the language of Odissi and Kandyan dance – from body positions and movement vocabulary to nuances such as walks, spins and jumps. Excerpts from Samhāra will also be performed. Running time: 50 minutes/includes Q&A session. Study Guide Available.
Student Audience Grade Range: Grade 4 (ages 9-10 yrs old) – High School (ages 14-18)
Panel Discussions and Artist Talks Topics include but are not limited to: classical Indian dance, Samhāra – a meeting of two cultures, Odissi and sculpture, the poetry of the Geeta Govinda, The Natyashastra, storytelling through dance, spirituality, body conditioning and injury prevention, gender studies, religious studies, temple architecture and dance, and the Nrityagram Dance Village.
Post-show discussions available upon request. No pre-show discussions/talks.