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Nrityagram Dance Ensemble



genres blend provocatively.

Based near Bangalore in an artists' commune, Nrityagram is an all-female ensemble devoted to preserving and expanding classical Indian dance forms, especially Odissi. Dancers train intensively and also study literature, mythology, Sanskrit, music, meditation, martial arts, and yoga in what sounds like creative nirvana. According to the philosophy of its visionary founder, Protima Gauri, "being a good dancer is second only to being a good human being."

On Wednesday, April 19, at the Power Center, Nrityagram presents Sacred Space, a full-evening production whose title refers to the glorious Hindu temples of Orissa in eastern India, where Odissi dance originated. Only in the last century have many of these temple rituals dedicated to the gods been transformed into concert dance. The proscenium stage is now the temple and the audience, along with the dancers, the devotees. And as traditional Odissi dance weds the earthly and the divine, Nrityagram artistic director Surupa Sen merges ancient and modern choreography, mindfully, without sacrificing the spirit and integrity of the dance.

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University of Michigan Museum of Arts