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Indian cultural troupe put on dazzling dance performance |27 January 2023

Indian cultural troupe put on dazzling dance performance

People who were at the International Conference Centre (ICCS) on Wednesday evening were able to enjoy some of the oldest forms of Indian classical dances performed by a dance group from the Sanjali Centre for Odissi in Bengaluru, India.

The dazzling classical cultural dance performance by eight members from the dance school (six females /two males), was part of activities to commemorate the 74th Republic Day of India celebrated yesterday.

The dance show, showcasing India’s rich cultural diversity, was a collaborative effort between the Indian high commission, the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in the Ministry of External Affairs, India.

Among the audience were the Indian high commissioner to Seychelles, Kartik Pande; the secretary general of the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts, David Andre; the permanent secretary of the institution, Cecile Kalebi; members of the diplomatic corps and of the Indian community living in Seychelles, among other guests.

The troupe was led by group leader and choreographer Sharmila Mukerjee. The other members who performed alongside her were Anushree Padmanabha, Suranjana Endow, Ravi Shankar Gowda, Swetha Sridharan, Anuradha Ghosh, Preeti Banerjee and Surajit Som.

They arrived in Seychelles on Tuesday evening.

After making his introductory remark, HC Pande presented the group leader, Sharmila, with a bouquet of flowers.

Dressed in their colorful traditional sarees and traditional ornaments, the group danced the Vande Matram, Jhinjhoti Pallavi, Abhinaya yahi Madhava and Ganga Stotram, among some of the old classical dance pieces performed for the night, through elegant body movements, soulful expressions and graceful gestures, punctuated by intermittent moments of stillness, often characterised as ‘poetry in motion’.

All of the dances performed, either in groups or solo, were stories mesmerizing the gods, goddesses, emperors, kings and people alike in India. To the surprise of the spectators, the troupe ended the cultural evening with a dance to the tune of ‘Mon Kontan Sa Gou Kreol’ by Jean Marc Volcy.

Odissi has been performing in India for more than two thousand years. Also referred to as Orissi in old literature, it is a major ancient Indian classical dance that originated in the temples of Odisha, an eastern coastal state of India. It traces its origins to Natya Shastr, the sacred Sanskrit text in performing arts. It evolved further on receiving royal patronage. The carvings found at the Udayagiri Monastery denote that Odissi was patronised as early as the 2nd century BC and the trend continued unabated until about 16th century AD.

After surviving the tumultuous years after until the country's independence, Odissi underwent a renaissance of sorts which helped it to become what it is today globally. Odissi dance form can be broken down to the movement of the head, bust and torso, and the accompanying gestures and expressions

As for the Sanjali Centre for Odissi, it is a dance Institute set up by Sharmila Mukerjee in 2004. It provides a complete education in the Odissi dance form.

The accompanying photos show some highlights of the dance performance.


Patrick Joubert

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