Kuchipudi-Odissi jugalbandi by Bengaluru dancers

NEW YORK (TIP): Bengaluru-based dancers Shubha Nagarajan and Srividya Angara will be performing a rare jugalbandi of Kuchipudi-Odissi classical dance across the US between 22 April and 22 May.

Titled #SAMAAGATI – a Sanskrit word for ‘taking steps together’, is a synergy between the two dancers as they share stage and energy and synergy in presenting the very graceful and lyrical classical Indian dance forms of Odissi and Kuchipudi in the US.

The spring of 2017 will see this duo present this unique concept in their maiden tour of the US. In the six weeks that is the span of their tour, they are scheduled to perform at six venues covering major towns along the East coast including New York City before heading to the West coast where they perform at Los Angeles and San Francisco amongst other cities.

Kuchipudi is the state dance style of Andhra Pradesh. Marked by dramatized expression and intricate footwork, this ancient dance-drama tradition came into being around the 15th century AD. Odissi, the lyrical and sensuous dance form from Odisha, in the eastern part of India is characterized by fluidity of upper torso, graceful gestures while displaying strength in footwork.

Both Ms. Nagarajan and Ms. Angara are graded artists with the Doordarshan -India’s national television network. Together they set out to juxtapose these ancient and celebrated styles that share between them a similarity in lightness of the technique, while remaining discrete on how this technique is exercised within the plane of movement.

SamAgati brings to fore the immense scope of expression that Kuchipudi and Odissi have, and when presented together, gives the audience a clear view of how close and yet how distinct the two styles are. The concept showcases traditional and original choreographies in both styles, with the dancers coming together to share stage for the finale.

While this is their first time presenting a creative collaboration together, individually, these dancers are not new to the US. Both of them have at some point been residents of the US and have umpteen solo performances in the past.

While Shubha began her journey with Odissi while staying in Bay Area, under the tutorship of Guru Niharika Mohanty, Srividya has completed her Diploma in Kuchipudi under the guidance of her guru Vijayavalli Priya. Moving to the US after marriage, Srividya evolved as a choreographer and soloist; and has the distinct honor of being the very first classical Indian dancer to be chosen to present her original work at the 27th Annual Choreographer’s Showcase in College Park, Maryland, and at the Norristown Dance Festival in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Shubha and Srividya wear their passion on their sleeve, holding their technique and their love for the art, close to their heart. But combine this with an element of risk-taking, and the resulting brew has endowed these two dancing mothers with the determination and fortitude to step out and take on the world in a way only they can.

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