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 Post subject: Nrityagram Dance Ensemble Brings "Sacred Space"
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 12:55 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
Press Contact and Photos: French Clements
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Becket, MA-From Bangalore, India, the exquisite Nrityagram Dance Ensemble
makes its Pillow debut in the Doris Duke Studio Theatre, July 20-23. This
group brings contemporary vibrancy to classical Indian dance through vivid
precision and a captivating presence. Their efforts have won them an
outstanding measure of critical acclaim. "You couldn't believe what you
were seeing," writes Joan Acocella of The New Yorker, "dancing so rich, so
deep-diving. Nrityagram's technical achievement is exceedingly high. . . .
But the technique is just the foundation." Accompanied by live musicians
for their Pillow debut, the company presents their newest work, Sacred
Space, performed in the deeply spiritual yet sensuous Odissi style of
classical Indian dance. The five performers of Nrityagram (pronounced
n-REET-YAH-gram, the word translates to "dance village" in Hindi) reside
together on a commune just south of Bangalore, where holistic living informs
their artistry and dance constitutes a sacred part of each day. It's clear
that the ensemble's arresting synchronicity, so frequently noted by
reviewers, stems from the group's total physical and spiritual togetherness.
Critics have praised artistic director and choreographer Surupa Sen for
preserving the sanctity of this ancient art form while appealing to a modern
audience of any cultural background or level of dance knowledge. In a
related free event, the ensemble previews their work on the Pillow's
Inside/Out stage, Wednesday, July 19 at 6:30pm. For a glimpse of Nrityagram
Dance Ensemble, watch the 2006 season overview video at

Performance and Ticket Information for Nrityagram Dance Ensemble: Evening
performances are Thursday, July 13 through Saturday, July 15 at 8:15pm, with
matinées on Saturday, July 15 at 2:15pm and Sunday, July 16 at 5pm. Tickets
are $24 each, with a 10% discount available for seniors, students, and youth
age 13 and under. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Box Office at
413.243.0745, faxing orders to 413.243.0749, or ordering online at Jacob's Pillow is located on George Carter Road in
Becket, MA, 10 minutes east on Route 20 from Mass Pike Exit 2.

In Sacred Space as in her other works, Sen reinvents with striking subtlety
the Odissi style of classical dance, which originated 2000 years ago in the
temples of Northeast India. Through a series of vignettes, audiences see
dancers entering a temple sanctuary from the bustling outside world, making
a journey from commotion to quietude. Inspired by the sculptural elements
of temple architecture, the basic Odissi posture accentuates the curvaceous
feminine line of each dancer, lending Sacred Space a rare aura of
spirituality and provocative allure. Sen explains, "We're drawing metaphors
between the dance and the home of the dance, the architecture of the dance
and temple." Performing with delicate precision and dramatic force,
Nrityagram has been lauded as "eerie, beautiful, and irresistibly
entertaining" (Tobi Tobias, The Village Voice).

While Surupa Sen has trained with several renowned masters of Indian dance,
as well as choreographers from Australia, Germany, Malaysia, and the United
States, her broad dance background encompasses work with Mark Morris, Taylor
II, and the Isadora Duncan Foundation for Contemporary Dance. In 2000, she
received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to attend the American
Dance Festival in North Carolina. Under her directorship, the Nrityagram
Dance Ensemble has toured nationally and internationally, making a
resounding New York debut in 1996.

The "dance village" of Nrityagram was founded in 1990 by the renowned Odissi
artist Protima Gaura as a self-supporting haven for classical Indian dance.
Each day, the artists of Nrityagram enrich their knowledge of dance by
studying yoga, Sanskrit, mythological texts, and martial arts. Now
flourishing, the village also offers public workshops and a diverse training
program for young dancers.

Free Events at the Pillow This Week
PillowTalks in Blake's Barn: Choreographer Tero Saarinen and Joel Cohen,
director of the acclaimed vocal group Boston Camerata, examine Saarinen's
new work and its sources, Wednesday, July 12 at 5pm.

Inside/Out performances at 6:30pm: Wednesday, July 19, one of India's most
classical troupes, Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, performs selections from their
program in the Doris Duke Studio Theatre. Erica Essner Performance Co-Op
shows their wide-ranging and visually provocative repertory on Thursday,
July 20. Hip-hop returns to the Inside/Out stage Friday, July 21, with
olive Dance Theatre, a Philadelphia group whose works defy the conventions
of the genre. Contemporary Traditions students of the School at Jacob's
Pillow perform repertory by Israeli dance giant Ohad Naharin on Saturday,
July 22.

Saturday, July 22 is Community Day, which means fun for the whole family:
giveaways, dance jams on the Great Lawn and in the studios, free
performances, food, an Archives Bazaar-all open to anyone and everyone. That
same day, there is a special treat for any visitor who is intrigued by the
Pillow's illustrious past, as Director of Preservation Norton Owen looks
back on his thirty years at Jacob's Pillow with a special sampling of
stories and video clips. In addition, attendees are invited to share their
own Pillow memories for a special exhibition commemorating the Pillow's 75th
anniversary in 2007.

Ongoing Free Events include: Ted Shawn First, the first overview exhibition
ever mounted at the Pillow on the Festival's influential founder, in Blake's
Barn; Philip Trager: A Pillow Retrospective, featuring insightful images
from this master of portraiture, in the Ted Shawn Theatre lobby; Basil
Childers, with work from a rising star of the international dance
photography scene, in the Doris Duke Studio Theatre lobby; Picturing Shawn,
a survey of two-dimensional depictions of the man by diverse artists, in the
Reading Room at Blake's Barn; and the latest Highlights of the Collection,
on view in the venerable Bakalar Studio whenever rehearsals and classes are
not in session.

Jacob's Pillow is located in the town of Becket in the Berkshire Hills of
Western Massachusetts. The Pillow was originally the Carter family farm in
the 1700s, and in the 1800s served as a station on the Underground Railroad.
Its pioneering spirit was furthered in 1933, when legendary dancer, teacher,
and choreographer Ted Shawn founded the Festival as a showcase for his
company of Men Dancers and as a home for dance in the U.S.

Jacob's Pillow now encompasses an acclaimed international Festival (the
first and longest-running dance festival in the U.S.), a professional
School, rare and extensive Archives open to the public free of charge, an
Intern Program, year-round Community Programs, and a Creative Development
Residency program. The historic site includes
161 acres, 31 buildings, three unique stages (including the first theater in
the U.S. built specifically for dance), three dance studios, exhibition
spaces, restaurants, the Pillow Store, residential housing, administrative
offices, a health center, gardens, trails, and woodlands.

The Pillow presents dance from all over the world in all forms, styles, and
traditions, plus approximately 200 free events each season, including
performances, lectures, tours, film showings, exhibits, and talks with
artists from all over the world, which attract approximately 80,000 visitors

Pillow Founder Ted Shawn was instrumental in beginning the careers of Martha
Graham and Jack Cole, and the Pillow has continued this mentoring role by
providing early opportunities to artists such as Alvin Ailey, José Limón,
and Mark Morris. Companies such as Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Parsons
Dance Company have been seen at the Pillow for the first time anywhere, and
international groups such as The Royal Danish Ballet and Nederlands Dans
Theater have made their U.S. debuts here. World premieres have been
commissioned from masters such as Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor, and
legendary artists such as Margot Fonteyn and Mikhail Baryshnikov have been
showcased in new works.

In 2003, Jacob's Pillow was declared a National Historic Landmark by the
federal government as "an exceptional cultural venue that holds value for
all Americans." It is the first and only dance entity in the U.S. to
achieve this honor. The Pillow looks forward to celebrating its 75th
anniversary in 2007, and has launched its first endowment campaign, The Fund
for Jacob's Pillow, to help ensure its eminence and longevity for others to
enjoy in years to come.

Major support for Jacob's Pillow, as of April 2006, has been provided by:
The Dana Foundation; The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; Francis Alexander
Family Fund; The Harkness Foundation for Dance; The William and Flora
Hewlett Foundation; The Leir Charitable Trusts in memory of Henry J. Leir;
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; Evelyn Stefansson
Nef Foundation; The William J. and Dorothy K. O'Neill Foundation; The
Prospect Hill Foundation; The Ira M. Resnick Foundation; The Ridgefield
Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Starr Foundation;
Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; National Endowment for the
Arts; U.S. Department of Education; ALEX®; Altria Group, Inc.; American
Express Philanthropic Program, Ameriprise Financial, Inc.; Berkshire Bank
Foundation; Canon, U.S.A., Inc.; TD Banknorth Charitable Foundation; The
Pillow Business Alliance; and Jacob's Pillow Members.

Jacob's Pillow is funded in part by the National Dance Project of the New
England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from Doris Duke
Charitable Foundation. Additional funding provided by The Ford Foundation
and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Major endowment support is provided by The Barrington Foundation, Inc.; The
William Randolph Hearst Foundation; Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state
agency; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Onota Foundation; The Prospect Hill
Foundation; and the Talented Students in the Arts Initiative, a
collaboration of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Surdna
Foundation; and Jacob's Pillow Members.



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