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March 27, 2007 > Odissi Dance repertoire

Odissi Dance repertoire

By Sabrina Mahajan

If you are looking for something relaxing, yet entertaining, exotic, yet cost sensitive to do with your family, your answer is the Odissi dance repertoire at Main Theater, California State University in Hayward, on Saturday, March 31.

Odissi is an ancient dance form that has its roots in ancient India. Odissi has been mentioned in ancient Indian classical literature, depicted on sculptures in temples like the Brahmeswara and the dancing hall of the 12th century Sun Temple at Konark in India. The dance originated in ancient India and up until the 18th century was only for the eyes of privileged royalty and that too in the rotunda of the sacred temples.

In Odissi dance, the performer tells a story by intricate hand gestures accompanied by rhythmic footwork and facial expression on a background of soothing classical music. It takes number of years to master all the hand gestures, referred as mudras in this dance form, and coordinate them with appropriate footwork.

This performance is organized by Sima Chakraborty, founder of Nataraj School of Dance, located at Union City and San Leandro. She is a graduate of the prestigious Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkatta and has received a Gold Medal from the University for excellence in Odissi dance. She lives in Union City with her husband and two daughters - also talented Odissi dancers. They both will be participating along with 24 other local dancers who have been tirelessly training over a year under Sima's watchful eye for Saturday's performance.

This Saturday's performance will be based on Lord Krishna's childhood. Lord Krishna is the chronicler of Gita - the sacred Hindu book that guides a human being about connotation of life. Hindus believe that Lord Krishna was in turn a reincarnation of the Supreme Divine who told the meaning of life to the skilled, brave warrior, Arjuna, who was reluctant to fight against his own family on the battlefield.

This repertoire will be divided into six different sections and will focus on Lord Krishna's early childhood and youth. To name some of the exciting pieces from the repertoire - scenes when young Krishna, one by one, eliminates demons sent to destroy him by his evil uncle. This evil uncle is driven by a prophecy that a nephew will end his destructive evil regime and, in turn, is set on killing this baby boy. The story then moves forward to the romantic love story of Krishna and Radha.

Odissi dancers decked in exotic costumes with elaborate headpiece and stunning silver jewelry is a feast to eyes. All the costumes and the jewelry for this performance are specially designed and ordered from the state of Orissa in India.

To learn more about the upcoming program or get acquainted with this dance forms please call Sima at (510) 429-8422.

Odissi Dance Performance
Saturday, March 31
3p.m. to 5p.m.
California State University East Bay
Main Theater
25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward
(510) 429-8422
Ticket $10.00 for adults, Students $5.00
Under 5 are free.

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