The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble
in collaboration with The Chitrasena Dance Company

On the heels of the tour revival of their international hit Saṃhāra, Surupa Sen collaborated with the Chitrasena Dance Company (pronounced Chithruh-say-naa) from Sri Lanka for a new work in which Nrityagram’s Odissi dancers are joined by male and female guest dancers from this Kandyan Dance company. Āhuti explores the differences and similarities that bring the two companies together in rhythm, musical interludes and physical expression.

March 29, 2024 • 8 p.m. • Ferst Center for the Arts

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About Nrityagram Dance Ensemble

Nrityagram (pronounced NRI-thyuh-graam) is located outside Bangalore, India. It was founded in 1990 by Odissi dancer Protima Gauri, who converted ten acres of farmland into a setting for the study, practice and teaching of dance. A village of artistes dedicated to the practice and nurture of a 2000-year-old art form, Nrityagram (which means dance village) is home to a school inspired by the Gurukula, an ancient teaching paradigm, and the dance ensemble.

The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble is regarded as one of the foremost dance companies of India. Led by Artistic Director Surupa Sen, the company has achieved worldwide critical acclaim, performing globally including an annual tour to the United States.

The ensemble is devoted to bringing Odissi - one of the oldest dance styles in the world - to audiences worldwide. Although steeped in and dedicated to ancient practice, the Ensemble is also committed to carrying Indian dance into the twenty-first century. Enabled by grants from Arts Funding organizations, Nrityagram’s dancers not only explore creative expansions of tradition but are also able to commission fresh compositions from leading Indian classical musicians. They research, innovate, create original work, and perform to audiences across the globe.

About Chitrasena Dance Company

Founded by Guru Chitrasena with a vision to inspire and exhilarate through the traditional dances and drums of Sri Lanka, the Chitrasena Dance Company has always been at the forefront of transforming the traditional arts landscape of the island. Chitrasena is recognized for rescuing the traditional dances that were confined to village settings and presenting it to audiences in Sri Lanka and across the world. The Company was founded in 1943 and initially nurtured under the creative genius Chitrasena, and later together with his wife Vajira. They worked tirelessly for decades to carefully distill ancient rhythmic rituals, by reviving and refining elements of it while staying firmly rooted in the old, and developed an authentic dance language. It is currently led by Chitrasena’s wife Guru Vajira Chitrasena, daughter Guru Upeka Chitrasena and grand-daughter Heshma Wignaraja.

About Surupa Sen

Surupa Sen was the first student to graduate from the Nrityagram Gurukula (School) and is a founding member of the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble. She began her Odissi training with the architect of Odissi, Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra. She also studied Odissi with Guru Protima Gauri, Abhinaya (expressional dance) with Guru Kalanidhi Narayanan and the Natyashastra under the supervision of Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam. For over two decades, Surupa has worked to research and expand the dance vocabulary of Odissi, and developed an aesthetic style that distinguishes the dancers from the Nrityagram School. Attracted to choreography from childhood, Surupa has focussed on making new dances using an expanded Odissi language, rooted in traditional Odissi and the Natyashastra. She has a keen interest in music and rhythm composition and has worked closely with Pt. Raghunath Panigrahi since 1999.

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“One of the most extraordinary dance events of the year...The only proper response to dancers this amazing is worship.” -The New York Times

Dancers on stage

Photo by CFAA