Indian Dance Performance Blooms In 'Crucible of Inspiration and Ideas'

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble. (Courtesy of The Luckman Fine Arts Complex)

When we read an ancient poem, gaze upon centuries-old sculpture, or speak a historic language, we're transported to communion with those long gone. So it goes—but in live time—with Nrityagram Dance Ensemble of India, one of the richest forms of dance that combines story and art, Sanskrit and yoga, meditation and the martial arts. The company describes itself as "a crucible of inspiration and ideas, a coming together of creative minds, which push themselves to the absolute limits of their abilities." You can find yourself transported to this ancient way of expression on Saturday, October 19th at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex at Cal State Los Angeles.

The New York Times continually heaps praise on Nrityagram performances, and in 2016, said, "the impact of their dancing still comes as the best kind of shock." For this revival tour, following the acclaimed performance of Samhara, company principal Surupa Sen will collaborate with Chitrasena Dance Company from Sri Lanka for a new work. They will be joined by guest dancers from this Kandyan dance troupe along with members from Nrityagram's Odissi dance ensemble.

An Ancient Art Becomes a Lifestyle

Nrityagram, which means "dance village," dedicates itself to India's 2,000-year-old classical movement forms, also known as Odissi. It takes its name from the state of its origin, Orissa, on India's central Eastern border. It has evolved to reference women's singing and dancing as part of in the sanctum-sanctorum of the temple as a part of the sacred worship; Gotipua Nacha, a tradition of dressing up young boys as women to enact and dance the devotional poems of Vaishnava poets; and to bring to life the forms carved on ancient temple walls.

Dancers, choreographers and musicians spend several hours each day in practice and interact with visiting musicians, composers, and scholars. As they train, the dancers are encouraged to lead a holistic life, in harmony with other humans, nature and the arts.

Tickets for Saturday's performance are $30-$50 and they are available via Ticketmaster or the Luckman Box Office.

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble

  • Saturday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m.
  • Luckman Fine Arts Complex, 5151 State University Dr., Los Angeles - Google Maps