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Rajika Puri
Performance Reviews
The Joyce Theater
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble from India at the Joyce Theater April 12-17

by Rajika Puri
April 7, 2005
The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (at the corner of 19th Street)
New York, NY 10011

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble from India at the Joyce Theater April 12-17

Rajika Puri
April 7, 2005

From April 12th to 17th at the Joyce Theater, Nrityagram Dance Ensemble from India, the company whose debut the New York Times hailed as "one of the most luminous dance events of the year! ", will present a newly choreographed program of Odissi dances, accompanied by live music.

Odissi is the temple dance form from Orissa with sinuous movements inspired by Indian sculpture. In some dances, arms, neck, torso, and feet are used to express complex drum rhythms and lilting melodies in the music. In others, the eyes, facial expression, elaborate hand gestures as well as movements of the whole body, are used to interpret lyrics that describe - sometimes even directly address - a Hindu deity.

Designed for a woman's body, the dance form requires suppleness and grace as well as an understanding of music and of texts that are often in Sanskrit - a classical language which, like Latin, is a language of learning. It is a difficult art form to perfect.

Nrityagram (which means 'dance village') was established in a rural setting as an ideal place for studying dance according to ancient Indian tradition, which involves direct training from guru ('maestro') to shishya ('disciple'), and full-time dedication to the art. Here the dancers not only spend several hours in practice and rehearsal, but also interact with visiting musicians, composers, and scholars. Many teach at outreach programs for nearby village children, in town. In short they live and breathe Odissi.

This dedication shows in their work. Their technique is flawless, the choreography as organic as the surroundings in which they work, close to the earth and to the natural rhythms of the sun and moon. Most of all, an inner tranquility emanates from them, even when they move with the vigor and effort of athletes. Truly, an opportunity not to be missed!

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble performs Tuesday, April 12th to Friday April 15th at 8 p.m., Saturday 16th April at 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 17th at 2 p.m.
TICKETS: $38.00 at JOYCECHARGE: 1 212 242 0800 or http://www.joyce.org/nrityagram05.html

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble - Bijayini Satpathy
Photo courtesy of Sonia Manchanda

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble - Pavithra Reddy
Photo courtesy of Sonia Manchanda

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble
Photo courtesy of Sonia Manchanda

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