26 August, 2011

Preview: Sriyah

Photo: Uma Dhanwatey
By Mateusz Jazdzewski
Audiences at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh this weekend will have the chance not only to appreciate beautiful dance but to experience something really special – a performance of classical Indian dance from the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, entitled Śriyah.
When Protima Gauri Bedi founded the group she created something more than just another dance troupe. Nrityagram village is home to a school which welcomes any talented dancers – the school is free to attend but students must commit to daily practice.
Dance in Nrityagram is not only a means of artistic expression, it is a way of life. The students and graduates of the school who live, work and dance in the village are not only fit but fluent in philosophy, literature, spirituality, ethics and music. As a result their dance is intellectually evocative as well as visually attractive.
In her choreography, Protima Gauri always aimed to create the perfect piece and she would not accept any middle ground. This philosophy of perfection has continued at the school and in the ensemble since her death in 1998 and her legacy has not been forgotten.
She was succeeded as artistic director and choregrapher by Surupa Sen, who joined the school as a dancer in 1990 and was one of the first students to complete Protima Gauri’s intensive training programme. Sen is not only a sensitive artist she also works to promote Indian arts all over the world.
The mission of Nrityagram is not to invent new dances but to intelligently connect many existing traditional Indian styles including Odissi, Manipuri and Kathak. This fascinating cultural mix will be central to Śriyah, a programme of five pieces performed by three talented dancers including Surupa Sen herself.
Friday 26, Saturday 27 and Monday 29 August, 8pm
Sunday 28 August, 3pm
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
Book now at eif.co.uk/sriyah
The Edinburgh International Festival runs from 12 August – 4 September. Browse and book online at eif.co.uk or call 0131 473 2000.

This article has also been published on stv.tv which features reviews, previews and features from this year's Festival.

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