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Skidmore College

Classical dance from East India to be performed

April 29, 2012
Sanchita Bhattacharya

Sanchita Bhattacharya

Guru Sanchita Bhattacharya, Odissi dancer, will perform in the Skidmore Dance Theater Monday, April 30.

Free and open to the public, the solo dance demonstration will begin at 7:30 p.m. Just prior to her performance, at 7 p.m.,  there will be a Kathak Dance Class demonstration featuring 22 Skidmore student dancers, with music by Veena Chandra of the Skidmore Music Department, on sitar, and Devesh Chandra on tabla.

Known as the "Cultural Ambassador of India," Bhattacharya is a specialist in Odissi, classical dance from East India. The essence of Odissi dancing lies not only in the sculptured postures, the intricacies of body movement and foot work and lyrical grace, but in the depiction of a higher spirituality, making it a soul-stirring experience.

Bhattacharya is known for her ability to mesmerize the audience into a higher spiritual trance through her breathtaking and unparalleled repertoire. The New York Times has noted "her dance has been described as perfection."

Odissi (or the precursors of Odissi) is one of the oldest surviving dance forms of India, dating back to the first and second century BC, according to archeological evidence, though Mahari legend and oral tradition hold that its origins date back even further, to Satya Yug. The current form of Odissi is the product of a 20 th- century revival after Indian independence. Dedicated scholars and gurus of both the Mahari and Gotipua styles used ancient texts, temple sculptures, and paintings in an effort to reconstruct the dance. Among these experts were Gurus Pankaj Charan Das (son of a Mahari), and Kelucharan Mohapatra, Dev Prasad Das, and Mayadar Rout (all of whom were once Gotipuas). They are known as the originators of today's Odissi.

Bhattacharya is also an Odissi lecturer and orator, a choreographer with creative originality, and a social activist. Her projects and choreography all speak of social, humanitarian, or women-oriented issues.

She is the founder of Sanchita Odissi Dance Foundation in Kolkata (India ) and in the USA (Raleigh-Durham) where talim (training) is given in Odissi dancing.

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