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Classical Orissi dance at Evergreen College

Post by Rosemary Ponnekanti / The News Tribune on Oct. 25, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
October 25, 2010 12:23 pm

 

Sarika Bharil performs as a warrior. Courtesy photo.

You don’t often get to see classical Indian dance in the South Sound – but this weekend you’ve got the chance. The Evergreen Orissi Dance Ensemble will join the Urvasi Dance Company and Fulbright-winning dance professor Ratna Roy for two performances of Orissi dance at Evergreen State College Friday and Saturday.

What’s Orissi? Originating from the tropical coastal state of Orissa in India, Orissi is one of the six classical Indian dance forms. It’s mostly a women’s dance, based around sinuous gestures with occasional leaps. Think of those curvy Indian temple sculptures and you’ll get the idea.

From the press release: “Orissi has been described variously as ‘movement meditation’ and ‘music in motion.’ The waters of the ocean at the Bay of Bengal are reflected in the gentle lyrical swaying of the torso, the breeze through the leaves of the palm trees in the circular movement of the wrist, and the heartbeat of Mother Earth in the pulsating rhythms and footslaps.”

Ratna Roy, who teaches at Evergreen and has won numerous awards for her work in rejuvenating this dance form, will lead students (including six-year-old Radha Iyer) and the Urvasi dancers in pieces that align humans with the cosmos.

“Orissi: Dance of the Cosmos” will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets $15/$5 from Rainy Day Records, Evergreen Bookstore or Box Office, or www.brownpapertickets.com. Experimental Theater, Evergreen State College, 2700 Evergreen Parkway, Olympia. 360-867-6833, www.evergreen.edu/expressions

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