Nrityagram: Hoping to Swoon at Such Stylings [UPDATE]

nrityagram_2webb.jpg As somewhat of a Bharatanatyam supremacist, I often fail to appreciate the grace, economy of movement and a whole host of other subtleties that dancers of Manipuri, Mohiniattam, Odissi, Kathak, Kathakali and Kuchipudi display in such abundance. It’s also been far too long since I’ve seen a live dance performance. Well, the wait for dance-starved patrons/critics/dancers is over (at least in my neck of the woods.) The very renowned Nrityagram dance ensemble is currently touring the US.

The troupe recently performed at the Joyce Theater in New York (encores performances to follow), which earned yet another mildly positive yet utterly clueless review from the Grey Lady (which I will dissect later), and will continue on to the following locations: Feb 19-24, 2008 – The Joyce Theater , NYC

Feb 29, 2008 – World on Stage, Stamford , CT

Mar 2, 2008 – UNC Chapel Hill , NC

Mar 3-5, 2008 – Modlin Center for the Arts, VA (I’ll be at the performance on the 5th)

Mar 6-9, 2008: Arts and Culture Center of Hollywood , FL

Mar 13-14, 2008: The Florida Theater, Jacksonville , FL

Mar 21, 2008: Savannah Music Festival, Savannah , GA

Mar 29, 2008: Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Santa Fe , NM

Apr 1-4, 2008: UCSB, Santa Barbara , CA

Apr 13, 2008: Stony Brook University , NYNrityagram is fairly unique as it’s the only school of dance (and so much more–beyond the scope of this post)that fairly strictly adheres to the ‘gurukulam’ format year round–students living in a preferably forested retreat with their guru; eating, sleeping and breathing their chosen discipline(s). It’s a very intense and effective teaching method for anything that requires a great deal of ‘muscle memory’ and spatial awareness. According to my anecdotal experience, even a few weeks of said Gurukulam-style training will raise anyone’s standard by a noticeable amount in only a few weeks.

I will be attending the performance at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Center on March 5th (not the 4th as indicated previously), from 7:30 till 9:30 (perhaps dressed in my Fab India best, if my mother succeeds in persuading me to dress like a cut-rate SRK–otherwise, look for the surly brown fellow with an uneven goatee)

contact details for tickets (and they are not cheap) are below:

UR students FREE, $24 UR employees, $32 adults Phone: 804.289.8980 Email: modlinarts@richmond.edu

18 thoughts on “Nrityagram: Hoping to Swoon at Such Stylings [UPDATE]

  1. Thanks for posting this, Nayagan. :) I was half-tempted to Zipcar to Richmond, just to see you do a cut-rate SRK-impression, but despite the twin temptations of that plus my beloved Sonic in your fair city, I can’t take off on a school night. ;)

    Oh, I wish they were coming to DC. :( Yet another reason to be jealous of New Yorkers…did you hear that people in the greatest city on earth? You can still go THIS WEEKEND. As wondrous as NYC is, I’ve heard about how certain local publications didn’t give this amazing event any love, so you may not even be aware of it, which is a damned shame.

  2. I read the NYTimes reviews (and the UrbanEye email) and went to see it last night at the Joyce with great expectations. I have to say I was a bit disappointed. The choreography is great, however there were a couple dancers who were technically off. There were several spots where the dancers weren’t 100% in sync. There were a few moments last night where I noticed dancers falter and start to lose balance when they were holding a pose. I’ve been to several arangetrams where teenagers have put on flawless performances. I expected more from a professional dance troupe. Maybe they were having an off night?

  3. Isn’t Nrityagram the brain child of Kabir Bedis wife. I think the lady passed away long time back in some freak accident in himalayas, wasn’t aware that organisation is still alive. Wish they had it in LA!

  4. look for the surly brown fellow with an uneven goatee)

    Uh huh, cuz there’s nobody else here in town like that. ;)

    Is your mother going too?

  5. Wish I could see one performance. I am lamenting the fact that I can’t attend. :( None of the performances are near my place. To all who are lucky enough to see the dancers, enjoy.

  6. Is your mother going too?

    mom and dad–si.

    you should come and mingle with the collars-up crowd! (if only to poke fun at my SRK stylings–lacking his Gallic profile, i’ll have to pay someone to break my nose several times over like Mijares did to Navarro on saturday night)

    Nope. Tickets are sold out.

    No scalping action?

    Isn’t Nrityagram the brain child of Kabir Bedis wife. I think the lady passed away long time back in some freak accident in himalayas, wasn’t aware that organisation is still alive. Wish they had it in LA!

    yes, I believe it was Protima Bedi/Gauri’s brainchild–but something that hardcore can never die! (or at least fade from memory)

    please people, save me from another debacle where I get the best seat and moon after the headlining lady for 3 hours (I’m so sorry, Anoushka Shankar, but I was an idealistic-and-testosterone-charged lad back then)by coming out to the performance at Modlin and saying hi.

  7. Uh huh, cuz there’s nobody else here in town like that. ;)

    i’m easily the most surly and aloof character you’ll ever see–but if you hear a clicking noise you can follow the sound directly to my right shoulder, which I’ll be testing out (by shadow bowling) throughout the night.

  8. look for the surly brown fellow with an uneven goatee)
    Is your mother going too?

    Oooo..ddaamnn!! That was wicked Coach_D!! but i love it :-) )

  9. 3 · Anu said

    I read the NYTimes reviews (and the UrbanEye email) and went to see it last night at the Joyce with great expectations. I have to say I was a bit disappointed. The choreography is great, however there were a couple dancers who were technically off. There were several spots where the dancers weren’t 100% in sync. There were a few moments last night where I noticed dancers falter and start to lose balance when they were holding a pose. I’ve been to several arangetrams where teenagers have put on flawless performances. I expected more from a professional dance troupe. Maybe they were having an off night?

    I’ve seen them several times over the years and they’ve definitely gone downhill since Protima Gauri died. Idont think anyone would’ve said they were ever top drawer performers, but lately their performances have been sloppy and amateurish at best and downright painful at worst.

  10. Nayagan- Dunno if you’re interested/aware but fights are tonight at Toad’s in the bottom. I’m working on getting passes cuz I don’t pay for shit.

    Email me for details.

  11. 11 · khoofia said

    look for the surly brown fellow with an uneven goatee)
    Is your mother going too?
    Oooo..ddaamnn!! That was wicked Coach_D!! but i love it :-) )

    Stop tryin to get me in trouble.

    I do that enough all by myself.

  12. It hurt not to go, but I had to be at Stanford this past weekend– where I saw Chardi Jawani, the student Bhangra troupe instead– but still, I will figure out a way to catch Nrityagram. Thanks Nayagan!

  13. Saw the Nrityagram performance this past Sat. night in NYC. I encourage any serious Indian classical dance lovers who haven’t yet seen them, or are uncertain, GO!!! if you want to see the best. They put on an extraordinarily inspiring performance–very high calibre high art performance–something I’ve come to expect from them, every time they tour. One warning, it is a subtle, occasionally slow and obscure performance which demands the attention of the audience, it is not for those who like their art easy, pre-digested, cute, and spoon-fed–this performance is an intense slow burn, mature audiences only. Thank you Nrityagram, finally,Indian dance for adults.

    Their principal soloist, Bijayini Satpathy, is stunningly proficient, awesomely powerful and magnetic, sublimely sensual–a breathtakingly gorgeous performer; I just couldn’t take my eyes off of her, and I’m not the only one as a mere dance aficionado. I went with a few professional dancers and dance students representing several different forms, one a renown Kathak dancer, none of them Odissi dancers, yet they all agreed, Bijayini is awesome, and deserves the largest possible audience. She, particularly, performed beyond my highest expectations; I shouldn’t have had a cup of coffee before the show, because her performance was so sensually captivating it nearly put me over the edge into cardiac arrest, no joke! I literally thought I was having palpitations. It was really good to feel that high after a dance performance, after a long time for me.

    I just want to add that I’m in no way attached to this group, I just love dance. From this sincere appreciation of dance, I am compelled to defend Nrityagram’s magnificent performance this year and in years past by calling out Anu and Payal’s previous disparaging comments about them as utterly clueless.

    Thank you Nrityagram! Come again soon!