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Due to visa difficulties, the performance by Nrityagram Dance Ensemble at the Williams Center for the Arts has been rescheduled to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 19.

Tickets for the event cost $20 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 610-330-5009. The performance will feature live accompaniment by master Indian musicians of sitar, mardala, flute, and voice who are trained in traditional performance styles.

Two related Williams Center events also have been rescheduled. Surupa Sen, Nrityagram’s artistic director and choreographer, will discuss the company’s performance and its connection with Indian religions and mythology noon Monday, April 18. A lecture-demonstration on Indian music for the World Music class taught by Larry Stockton, professor and head of music, will take place 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 19. The performance residency is supported in part by a grant from the Dexter and Dorothy Baker Foundation of Allentown.

Dancer/actress Protima Gauri Bedi established the village of Nrityagram in 1989, a haven for dancers to live and work together, each helping to run the institution while perfecting their skills at six classical Indian dance forms. The village thrives as a center of culture, and its Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, regarded worldwide as one of the foremost Indian classical dance companies, travels around the globe to share its exquisite art.

With exceptional synchronicity, compelling physicality, and emotional honesty, the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble has earned national and international acclaim for its ability to redefine both dance and theatre, to create and communicate with powerful imagery and captivating dance.

The New York Times called aNrityagram performance “One of the most luminous dance events of the year! In addition to impressive technical expertise, they performed with a burnished grace, a selfless concentration and a depth that reflected their intensive training in dance, music, literature, language and philosophy.”

“The ensemble mesmerized a sold-out audience with its artistry, energy, technique and beauty,” reported Dance Magazine. “Dazzling dance and dancers! What is appealing in a soloist can be positively overwhelming when four or five exquisitely trained, stunningly garbed young women multiply the gestures and movements,” said The Village Voice.

The dancers are Arupa Gayatri, Rasmi Raj, Priyambada Pattanaik, Pavithra Reddy, and Bijayini Satpathy. They are accompanied by Navin Kumar Mishra, sitar; Srinibas Satapathy, flute; Rajendra Kumar Swain, vocals; and Budhanath Swain, Mardala. The ensemble’s program, Sri – In Search of the Goddess, has been supported by a grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts. Premiered in Miami in 2002, Sri has toured extensively to critical acclaim. The New England Foundation for the Arts has awarded Nrityagram a second grant for a new production by Surupa, Sacred Space, set to premiere in the United States in spring 2006.

Sen, the first soloist to be presented by Nrityagram, trained under the legendary guru Kelucharan Mahapatra, as well as Protima Gauri, the founder of Nrityagram, and Kalanidhi Narayanan, the leading exponent of Abhinaya (expressional dance). She has also trained in martial art forms such as Chhau, Kalaripayattu and Aikido. As the recipient of a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, she attended the American Dance Festival in the summer of 2000. She has performed around the world and has gained national and international recognition for the sensuous beauty of her dance and the dynamic imagery of her choreography.

Satpathy, a soloist in the program, was seven years old when she joined the Orissa Dance Academy, Bhubaneshwar, where she trained under guru Gangadhar Pradhan and guru Kanduri Charan Behara for 13 years. She joined Nrityagram in 1993, guided by Protima Gauri and in collaboration with Sen. Director of the Odissi Gurukul at Nrityagram, Bijayini is creating new training techniques for Indian classical dance and extending the vocabulary of the ancient dance form of Odissi.

The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble is much more than a dance company, the ensemble notes.

“It is a crucible of inspiration and ideas, a coming together of creative minds, which push themselves to the absolute limits of their abilities,” states the group. “A space where dancers, musicians, and choreographers live together for years, developing their ideas, perfecting their technique, and complementing their learning of dance with a knowledge of mythology and the epics, Sanskrit, yoga, meditation, and the martial arts.”

The lifestyle that the village of Nrityagram follows is based on the age-old Gurukul tradition. Students look after and care for their guru by growing fruit and vegetables on the land, cooking, cleaning, and earning through dance recitals. At Nrityagram, the institution fulfills the role of the guru — as protector and as someone who makes knowledge and experience available.

Along with the intensive dance instruction, trainees learn Indian literature, mythology, poetry, Sanskrit, music, aesthetics, history of dance, philosophy, spiritual thought, and dance theory. Regular workshops are conducted in martial arts, yoga, mime, meditation, sculpture, and other subjects.

The nationally recognized Performance Series at Lafayette attracts more than 10,000 people each season. It has been cited for performing excellence by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, Chamber Music America, Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund, Pennsylvania Arts and Humanities Councils, and Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

The 2004-05 Performance Series at Lafayette is supported in part by gifts from Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts; by the F.M. Kirby Foundation; by provisions of the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence Program, J. Mahlon and Grace Buck Foundation, and Croasdale Fund; and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

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