Two distinct dance forms, both tracing back to antiquity, meet in a spectacular cross-cultural collaboration marked by a labour of love—one is marked by curved body lines and lyrical melodies; the other is by dynamic leaps and thunderous drum beats. Sold-out performances across India, the USA and Mexico, rave reviews and adulation by world-class performers make Saṃhära the dance event of the year.Symbolising the union between the sensuousness of India’s odissi and the masculinity of Sri Lanka’s kandyan dance, Saṃhära (Sanskrit: collection; practice; skill; compilation; drawing together) is a never before conceived collaboration between two divergent styles represented by established dance companies Nrityagram Dance Ensemble and Chitrasena Dance Company. And while their roots in ancient ritualistic practices remotely connect them, it is passion that brings them together in this highly anticipated dance presentation.Inspired by the Natya Shastra, an ancient treatise on performing arts and stagecraft, Saṃhära reflects the shared elemental connections between odissi and kandyan. Surupa Sen takes the lead as principal odissi performer and choreographer of the production. Protégé to Protima Gauri Bedi, founder of India’s first dance gurukul (residential school), Nrityagram, she and other odissi performers from the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble took on a four year collaboration with Sri Lanka’s Chitrasena Dance Company. The result is a seamless marriage of opposites and dualisms: masculine and feminine elements (even within the “feminine” odissi), sculptural qualities and sinuous transitions, abstract form and mime gesture, motion and repose.Highlights of this performance features an arpaṇam where both odissi and kandyan dancers perform to a prayer to invoke the benevolence of Goddess Parvati and seek her blessings. A dance invocation to Shiva by the Nrityagram follows, along with an odissi solo by Surupa. An alap is performed in the finale as kandyan and odissi dance traditions meet in space to challenge, combine and embrace each other through musical conversation and rhythmic dialogue.Since the production started touring the US early 2012, it has performed to sold-out crowds, received rave reviews and even adulation by world class performers none other than Russian “god of dance” Mikhail Baryshnikov and choreographer Mark Morris. Saṃhära has been nominated for Outstanding Production (of a work performed in a theatre of 400 or more seats) and Outstanding Sound Design at New York’s prestigious Bessie Awards 2012.

address: Esplanade Theatre Studio


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