Fowering Of Orissi: PROGRAM NOTES
Artistic Director: Dr. Ratna Roy
Pre-Show & Intermission music: Friday: Stephanie Donchey (sitar), Stephanie Donchey (sitar), Nirmal Rout (mardala/percussion), Celia Chantal (silver flute), Eric Siraj(bass).
Accompanying Musicians for Orissi dance: Nirmal Rout (mardala/percussion), Deepa Banerjee (voice), Joyjeet Majumdar (flute), Ratna Roy (manjira).
Invocation: Guru Brahma: Raga: Bhupali; Tala: Ektali. (Choreography of sloka: Ratna Roy; Choreography of Bhumi and Sabha Pranam: Padmabibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra)
Dancer: Sarvani Eloheimo.
The dance begins with bhumi pranam, salutation to Mother Earth. The song states that my guru is Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. My guru is the highest of Brahman. I pay my respects to you. The dance ends with sabha pranam, asking the audience to bless this evening.
Shiva Mangalacharana: Ratna Roy. Raga: Kalyan. Tala: Ektali. (Choreography: Sloka & Shiva Sabdam: Guru Deba Prasad Das; bhumi pranam & sabha pranam: Padmashri Guru Pankaj Charan Das. Restaged by Frank V. Petty & Priyanka Ganguly Wilkins. Eco-feminist conceptualization: Ratna Roy.)
Dancers: Nabiha Huq, Mrinalini Natarajan, Siri Mehus, Savitha Muthanna, Mala Nugehally, Douglas Ridings.
The dance opens with an invocation, followed by bhumi pranam, salutation to mother Earth. Then the chanting begins: Lord Shiva resides in the Himalayas. The broad leaves of the banj oak are his matted hair. When the monsoon descends, in the form of the young Goddess, Ganga (Ganges River), she comes down on the morass of banj oak to preserve the eco-system on the slopes of the Himalayas and prevent flooding in the plains of India. Lord Shiva dances his dance of cyclical regeneration—his dance of destruction during the hot burning summer months for life to renew during the monsoons. The snake that represents both the male and the female is extolled. Shiva in the form of Ardhanarisvara is half male and half female—androgynous in his/her totality. Shiva as Ardhanarisvara represents Nature in her powerful form—earthquakes, eruptions—and in her nurturing form. The dance ends with Sabha Pranam, connecting the dancers’ energies with the energies of the audience.
Vasanta Pallavi: Raga: Vasanta. Tala: Ektali. (Choreography: Padmashri Guru Pankaj Charan Das.)
Dancers: Friday: Aimee Machiels; Saturday: Joyita Banerjee, Semonti Hussain, Ankita Mishra, Natasha Mohapatra, Shivani Mohapatra, Arunima Roy.
The most exquisite item in Odissi, a pallavi is the flowering dance: flowering of the raga, the tala, and the nrtta (dance) in synchronicity with the flowering of the universe. The feet of the dancer drum out the heartbeat of Mother Earth—she lives because the dancer dances. Her torso movements are the waves of the ocean washing the sandy shores. Her arms and fingers are the waving branches and leaves of the coconut trees. The dance itself represents the totality of the cosmos —human connection with Nature.
Abhinaya to Oriya song: “Radharani songe nache”: Raga: Bakulabharana, Tala: Ektali. (Choreography: Padmashri Guru Pankaj Charan Das. Recreated by Dr. Ratna Roy.)
Dancer: Ritawari Sharangpani.
This is the debut of the recreated dance, thanks to the Fund for Folk Culture and its generous award.
Music: Entrance of the gopi, cowherdess, the storyteller.
With Radharani dances Krishna.
See how beautiful it looks:
His tribhangi pose; his slanted gaze.
He is one who is coveted.
Around his waist is the sound of
Around his ankles are the bells
that keep the beats.
The bells steal our hearts
Song: Sung to beats are phrases.
That sound of bells;
the sound of his waistband.
Oh, come and see, all of you.
Radharani is dancing with Krishna.
Where the cowherds and cowherdesses reside,
the gopis are pushing one another
to catch a glimpse.
The dark complexioned Hari is there
holding the sprayer in his hands
(ready to play Holi, the festival of colors).
How beautiful it looks:
Radhikarani, the enchantress of the heart,
in search of her lover.
She dances with Krishna.
Wearing many colors on his body,
he is now Banamali.
Holding the red powder in his hand,
he is throwing the powder on her.
He is dancing inside.
How beautiful it looks.
Sri Radharani, the one who is seeking,
the elusive enchantress.
They dance together in love.
Vadya Pallavi: Tala: Ektali
(Choreography: Padmashri Pankaj Charan Das).
Dancers: Kristina Ching, Mary Drew, Aimee Machiels.
Kali Moksha: Raga: Bhupali; Tala: Ektali. (Choreography: Guru Bichitrananda Swain). Dancer: Sitara Thobani.
The dance is to Mahakali, 10 headed, with 10 legs and 10 arms. The dance opens with the invocation of Kali through still images. She is one who holds the mace, is loud, three eyed, and is blue-bodied, dazzling in color. She is one with ten feet and ten heads. She destroyed Madhu Kaitava when Brahma attacked by the asura prayed to her. When the earth is not, there is no sun—only dark—you are there. You are the illusion that caused Vishnu to go into sleep, and you are the one that removes the sleep. Glory be to you, Goddess Chandika, Goddess Markandayi. Goddess Chamundi, the one with the severed head, Goddess Durga—you are all in One. My prayers to you. You are the bestower of Intelligence, Oh Goddess. Om Shantih (Peace to all).
Batu: Raga: Kedar, Tala: Ektali. (Choreography: Padmabibhushan Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra. Restaged by Ratna Roy).
Dancers: Frank Casey, Kristina Ching, Jamie Lynn Colley, Aimee Machiels, Sitara Thobani: The dance has been conceived as sculptures from the famous 13th century Konarak Temple coming to life on a full moon night in order to recreate how Odissi was reconstructed in the postcolonial era (1950’s) from sculptures, Sanskrit manuscripts, and the debilitated living traditions in existence at the time. The movements take the dancers from one one still sculpture (bhangi) to another, beginning with a depiction of the primary bhangis or postures, the vina (stringed instrument), the flute, the mardala (percussion), and the cymbals. Then it continues on to the depiction of the alasa bhangi (indolence), darpana (looking into the mirror) and others.
Arabhi Pallavi: Raga: Arabhi, Tala: Ektali. (Choreography: Padmabibhushan Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra. Restaged as a duet by Priyanka Ganguly Wilkins).
Dancers: Marissa Betz-Zall & Jamie Lynn Colley. A pallavi is the flowering of the dance and music. This particular dance demonstrates the intricacies of the Odissi dance movements.
Draupadi: Raga: Mishra, Tala: Mishra. (Choreography: Padmashri Guru Pankaj Charan Das).
Dancer: Ratna Roy.
Pneumonics: Duhsasana drags Draupadi into the Kaurava court by her hair.
Song: Description of Draupadi: born of fire, wife of the Pandavas, daughter of King Dhrupad, strong, a devotee of Krishna, beautiful in her dark-complexion, named Draupadi. Then the court is depicted: King Duryodhana, Father Dhritarashtra, Sage Dronacharya, Great-uncle Bhisma, the dice player uncle Shakuni, and Duhsasana.
Pneumonics: The dice game between Shakuni and Yuddhisthira; the Pandava Prince loses. Duryodhana mockingly asks Draupadi to sit on his left thigh and gives her over to his brother, Duhsasana, who jubilantly proceeds to disrobe and humiliate her as their property.
Song: Draupadi commands Duhsasana to stop while she asks each of her five husbands whether they will protect her honor.
TO YUDDHISTHIRA: They are treating me as a prostitute. It is said, in this wide world that you are King of righteousness.
TO ARJUNA: Pleading with tears, Draupadi says, "You are the son of Indra, the second Krishna, the jewel of the Earth, see what trouble I am in."
TO NAKULA: "You have might. You wear clothes made in the svargaloka (heavens). In this court, Duhsasana is disrobing me. How can you bear it?"
TO SAHADEVA: "You are the one that knows of all three kala, the past, present, and future. With all of this power, did you not know before that I would be in trouble?"
TO BHIMA: "With a hero like you for a husband I am in such sorrow. Watching Duhsasana pull my hair, how can you not be angry?"
Song: Seeing the hardheartedness of the Pandavas, Mahasati (virtuous) Draupadi invokes Krishna, the King of the Yadavas, for help and sits down despondent.
Pneumonics: Draupadi’s struggle against Duhsasana as the court silently watches.
Song: Draupadi recounts how she came to be in this plight through the deceit of the Kauravas. She calls on Krishna, Shiva, Brahma, Indra, Kubera, Varuna, and Sudhakara. Then she remembers how she got to be the wife of the Pandavas through Arjuna’s skill in archery while all the heroes watched. Now, in the court of Hastinapur, Duhsasana has insulted her twice. Bereft of all, she surrenders herself totally and entrusts herself to Krishna. Krishna responds.
Moksa: Tala: Ektali. (Choreography: Padmabibhushan Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra). Dancers: Gabriele Oguiza & Frank V. Petty. The final release, the joining of the soul and the body with the Ultimate through rhythm.
Technical Crew for this production:
Lighting Design: Urvasi’s own Matt Lawrence
Audio Engineer: David J. Capers
Backdrop Scenic Artists: Jamie Herman, Rhett Nelson
Poster design & Publicity: David J. Capers & Odissi Genealogy Research Display: David J. Capers,
Shannon Stewart, Jade Leone Blackwater, Amanda Weatherford
Jagannatha & Guru Pankaj Charan Das Stage Décor: Ratna Roy; Photo by David J. Capers
Director’s Notes & Acknowledgements: “I always envisioned Evergreen as an institution that built community, was multicultural, and inclusive. Tonight we have community members, students, alumni, faculty, and staff creating a bond and a continuum that has always been my Evergreen dream. Tonight I am also proud to present a company that has made history—a company that comprises of Evergreen students, alumni, staff, and faculty, as well as community members from the country that gave birth to this art form.
I would like to thank the Fund for Folk Culture. . . I would also like to thank David J. Capers for his unflinching support. Many heartfelt thanks to Urvasi’s own Matt Lawrence. Sean Williams, Rose Jang, and Setsuko Tsutsumi—thanks for all your support. Thank you, John Robbins, for enabling us and making it a non-stressful work-year. Thanks Shannon Stewart for helping me with the display and refreshments.
Finally thanks to the Cultural Ministry, Government of India, and the Cultural Ministry, Government of Orissa, the Orissa Research Center and its chief executive, Ramhari Das for acknowledging Evergreen’s historical contribution to Odissi dance.
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