weaving dance, spoken word, music and movement

A unique evening that interweaves classical dance, music, movement, spoken word and theater to create an immersive experience of performing arts. Presented by US-based Odissi dancer Sreyashi Dey and theater actor and scholar Dheeman Bhattacharyya, the evening will feature three segments.
Sreyashi will premiere her new dance-theater work Hidimba, in which she explores the life of Hidimba, one of the lesser known and rarely examined characters of the Mahabharata. Hidimba is a demon-princess, the wife of one of the Pandava brothers, Bhima. Her life is a moving example of women’s struggles, particularly of those who are outside the dominant socio-economic narrative. Even though she appears to willingly make her own choices, Hidimba’s only option to negotiate the existing power structures is to accept conditions of diminished fairness and equity, and make personal sacrifices as a wife and mother. Therein lies the dilemma, ambiguity, complexity and poignancy of the choices women are forced to make. The Mahabharata war plays out not only on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, but also in the minds and bodies of the victors and the anguished, the dead and the alive.
Also featured are two other innovative works. Sreyashi and Dheeman will collaborate to present a traditional Odissi abhinaya Manini through dance and spoken word. Dheeman will premiere his new solo theater work Niraba Rajani: An artistic impression of Tagore’s ” The Hungry Stones.”
Sreyashi Dey
Sreyashi Dey is one of the foremost exponents of Odissi in the US, and the Founder and Artistic Director of Srishti Dances of India and Akshara. Previously also an exponent of Bharatanayam, as a thoughtful artist, she constantly expands her creative horizons with new choreographies and collaborations across artistic genres. She regularly tours the US and has performed all over the world – in Europe, Asia and India. Her work has been critically acclaimed by well-known critics in leading newspapers and magazines in the US, such as the New York Times, as well as in leading media in India. She has been the recipient of several awards, notably the Harry Schwalb Excellence in the Arts, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and several premier foundations in the US. Sreyashi/Akshara present and
produce a major annual month-long festival of multi-arts from India in Michigan, USA. Sreyashi’s educational background includes an MS in Economics and an MBA, with parallel careers in marketing, University of Michigan administration and non-profit.

Dheeman Bhattacharyya

Dheeman Bhattacharyya teaches Comparative Literature at the Centre for Comparative Literature, Visva- Bharati, Santiniketan. His doctoral thesis was on Indigenous Theatre traditions in India and Canada. He is trained in Odishi and Rabindrasangeet. He has performed in productions like Yugaant, Ananta, NAAD, Urubhangam, Andhayug. His original scripts include Karuna Dharay Esho, Megh Bhanga Gaan, Shrabon Kheyale, Waterness, and NAAD. He has directed a documentary Vimukti in association with ICSSR and AAWW.

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