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Art Alert: India to infuse five Egyptian cities with Odissi classical dance

Odissi dance troupe led by Dona Ganguly will perform in Cairo, Port Said, Ismailia, Alexandria and Beni Suef in events free of charge

Ahram Online , Sunday 24 Apr 2016
Odissi dancer Dona Ganguly (Photo: courtesy of the India by the Nile organizers)

Acclaimed Indian classical dancer Dona Ganguly and her troupe will peform India's Odissi dance in five Egyptian cities, starting with Cairo on 30 April 2016.

Ganguly's performance in Egypt comes as part of the ongoing fourth edition of India by the Nile, a multidisciplinary arts festival that aims to bring a variety of Indian cultre's facets to the Egyptian audiences.

Ganguly is one of the india's acclaimed Odissi dancers. According to information released by the India by the Nile organisers, "during Ganguly's illustrious career, she has presented many dance programmes in India, and all over the world. Apart from performing, Dona Ganguly also runs her own dance school called Diksha Manjari."

There are nine types of classical dance in India, recognised by India's Sangeet Natak Akademi, and Odissi is one of them

Born in East India in the 2nd century BC, Odissi's history is strongly linked to the state of Odisha where the temple city is decorated with bas-reliefs that serve as archaeological evidence of the dance as form of worship. In those temples, Odissi was performed by a group of women, the Maharis. Their dance and music were part of a sacred ritual dance representing offering and worship. In the 6th century BC, young boys – Godipuas – dressed up as girls and taught by Maharis would perform to the public in front of the temple to Oriya songs. Accordingly, today’s Odissi is a revival of the dance of the Godipua and the Mahari.

A number of great gurus contributed to the 20th century’s resurrection of Odissi, among them the notable Kelucharan Mohapatra (1926-2004), Indian classical dancer and choreographer, who gave Odissi new dimensions, enriching Indian culture with its own heritage and allowing it to cross the country’s borders.

In fact, Odissi dance closed the first edition of India by the Nile, back in 2013, when Nrityagram Dance Village performed this captivating art in Cairo and Alexandria. The following years hosted other classical dance forms such as Kathak. Last year the festival hosted dances from the Manipur, brought to Egypt with the Narmada Cultural Organisation.

Saturday 30 April, 8pm
Gomhoria Theatre, Abdeen, Cairo

Monday 2 May, 8pm
Cultural Palace, Port Said

Wednesday 4 May, 8pm
Cultural Palace, Ismailia

Friday 6 May, 8pm
Alexandria Opera House (Sayed Darwish Theatre), Alexandria

Saturday 7 May, 8pm
Cultural Palace, Beni Suef

Free entry to all performances
Programme subject to change

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