Classical Odissi Dance at the Indian Embassy

Dance performance NARI – Honouring the Feminine by Sonali Mishra

May 23rd, 2019
Henrietta Störig, News from Berlin
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The Indian Embassy in Berlin will host Sonali Mishra, a US born and raised classical dancer, to perform her Odissi dance in Germany as part of her tour. Classical dances of India evolved as a form of spiritual expression, having originally been performed in temples throughout India. Now, Sonali Mishra will bring this dance to Germany.

Traditional Indian dances are renowned not only for their intricacies in movement, but also for their highly spiritual content. Classical dances of India usually have two distinct aspects: Nritta, or pure, abstract movement without any meaning, and Nritya, or expressional dance, where the artist uses codified hand gestures and facial expressions to tell a story, much of which carries a mythological theme. Odissi, the graceful and lyrical dance form from the eastern state of Orissa, is considered to be India’s earliest regional dance styles on the basis of archaeological evidence. While this dance had become extinct for quite some time, it was reconstructed in the 1940s with the efforts of dedicated critics, dancers, scholars and musicians who set forth to re-assemble (reconstruct) this dance form, drawing upon local cultural references whilst adhering to the fundamental principles prescribed by ancient treatises on dance. Odissi's style and technique is unique in its presentation. Famous for its lyrical grace and charm, the dance is characterized by its rounded, fluid movements, as well as the abundance in sculpturesque poses, or bhangis, bearing close resemblance to the relief sculptures of the famous temples in Odisha.

Sonali will be touring a new production in the spring of 2019. ‘Naari: Honouring the Feminine’ layers contemporary poetic narrative with classical Odissi dance repertoire. It is a tribute to women in their essence, form and feeling; exploring different facets of womanhood through narration and movement. Woman is all-encompassing in her devotion, compassion, vulnerability, strength and power. She is the embodiment and essence of love.

Sonali Mishra began her Odissi training under Smt. Chitralekha, Smt. Ellora, and Sri Devraj Patnaik in Toronto, CA. Since 1995, she has been travelling regularly to Odisha, India for further study and refinement. She has trained extensively with Gurus Smt. Aruna Mohanty, Sri Bichitrananda Swain and Sri Ramesh Chandra Jena at the Orissa Dance Academy, and later under Gurus Sri Ratikant Mohapatra and Smt. Sujata Mohapatra at Srjan. She is receiving additional training in abhinaya under Guru Smt. Kumkum Lal and she is also undergoing an actor-training workshop series under the renowned Kodiyattam Guru and Scholar G. Venu in Kerala.

Sonali has performed as a soloist in numerous venues and festivals in various cities throughout the US, India, Canada, Europe and Malaysia. Sonali received the ‘2018 Aarya Award for Women Acheivers’, ‘International Nritya-Shiromani Award’ “Nrithya Vilasini” “Natya Bharati.

The event will take place at the Indian Embassy in Berlin on Monday, May 27 between 18:00 and 20:00 o’clock. The entry is free and everyone is welcome to enjoy the dance.


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