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Reactions to Nrityagram - Odissi Dance in NY

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Still in my proselytizing mode to excite you about the beauty of dance from India---

I posted information recently about Nrityagram (May 12 and 13 at Skirball Center) to sell an extra ticket, and -- irony of ironies -- got sick and couldn't attend! This links to that thread, which has a link to Leigh Witchel's earlier review:


A friend went in my place, and he loved it. There is an excellent review by Joel Lobenthal in the New York Sun, http://www.nysun.com/article/32700 that might provide extra incentive for action next time this company comes around.

Here's an excerpt: "The first half of the program consisted of three pieces for the superb ensemble. Ms. Sen's choreography expertly interwove solo figures with ensemble so that the five members seemed like a microcosm. With chains of two and three dancers, she established a call-and-response dynamic between them. All five would combine, hold hands and freeze in a tableau, and then an outrider would again emerge."

I hope anyone else who has seen it (Leigh was going as press) will join me in my missionary zeal and spread the word.

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I have attended classical dance performances in India as well as here in the US. The last time we were in India I was fortunate enough after some loud begging to observe my niece's Bharat Natyam class. The dedication and many years of study to dance any of the forms of Indian classical dance finds much in commom with classical ballet. I love them both! :wink:

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I went and took a friend. What amazed me this time was the level of rehearsal - the dancers were in such synchrony it it felt almost too drilled. It's also a fascinating mixture of east and west - to Western eyes it all looks "traditional", but speaking to Indian friends who know Odissi, there are significant departures and innovations. A very interesting parallel to what we might see in ballet. The program is new; the first half was group dance (including one mostly abstract piece simply celebrating the beauty of the form - it was my favorite because of Surupa Sen's craftsmanship at group work). The second half was a retelling of the Sanskrit epic from the 13th century of the story of Krishna and Radha - a tale more familiar to an Indian audience than Romeo and Juliet is to us.

They're going to Spoleto and then going home; they have been on tour three and a half months! The same Indian friend (a reliable source) also said they're probably not going to tour next year and rather use the time to recharge and create.

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I saw them last year at a college campus for a class and I loved them. At first I was skeptical about what I was going to see, but after their first piece I was drawn in and had an excellent time. Even my boyfriend enjoyed it, and he doesn't know much about dance except for what he has seen with me or what I tell him. If you have a chance to see them I recogmend that you do, and that before seeing them do a bit of research on the culture and on what their dancing represents. I saw a presentation about them before we saw them dance and it really helped to clear up what the pieces were about.

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