May 8-9: "Ratna Roy's Dance of the Spirit" Washington State

The Evergreen Orissi Dance Ensemble will be joined by the ground-breaking Urvasi Dance Company and faculty member, Ratna Roy, for an evening of Orissi Dance with 19 dancers at The Evergreen State College on Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9 at 8:00 pm. in the college’s Experimental Theater. General admission tickets are $15 and $5 for Seniors and Students on sale at Rainy Day Records, The Evergreen Bookstore, online at, the Communications Building box office, from 12 to 3 pm daily, or by placing a phone order at (360) 867-6833. There will be a limited number of $50 front row seats for the patrons of Evergreen’s Orissi Dance program. For these seats, please contact John Robbins at (360) 867-6651.
The theme this year is “Orissi: Dance of the Spirit.” Born in the coastal districts of the state of Orissa, India, Orissi has been described variously as “movement meditation,” “music in motion.” The waters of the ocean at the Bay of Bengal are reflected in the gentle lyrical swaying of the torso, the breeze through the leaves of the palm trees in the circular movement of the wrist, and the heartbeat of Mother Earth in the pulsating rhythms and footslaps.
The evening’s performance will open with a spiritual dance by The Evergreen Orissi Dance Ensemble. Two pallavis or dances of flowering, connecting the dancers with the cosmos, will be presented by faculty member, Jamie Lynn Colley, alumni, senior students, and Urvasi. This year we are fortunate to have with us faculty emeritus, Meg Hunt, who will be dancing a Krishna dance through the lens of a gopi. 11-year old Sarvani Eloheimo, twice recipient of Washington State Arts Commission’s Folk Arts Apprentice Award, daughter of faculty members, Marja Eloheimo and Eddy Brown, will present Krishna as a child. Both of these dances come from the Bhakti tradition of Eastern India. The quintessential “Dasavatara,” depicting the ten incarnations of Vishnu, will be presented by the Urvasi dancers. The last dance for the evening will be Ratna Roy’s choreography and debut of “Nava Rasa” as seen through the Feminine eye: Love, Heroism, Sorrow, Wonder, Laughter, Terror, Disgust, Anger, and Peace.

Dr. Roy was trained in India in classical Orissi dance, initially in both the women’s (mahari) and the men’s (gotipua) traditions by Guru Govinda Chandra Pal and subsequently in the classical tradition that evolved from the unique "mahari" tradition, by Padmashri Guru Pankaj Charan Das, the guru of all gurus. She is one of the few remaining dancers who practice the women’s dances in classical Orissi style. It has now become her mission to teach and spread this lyrical yet powerful dance style and tradition of her guru. Ratna Roy has received two Fulbrights, an American Institute of Indian Studies Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Award, the Arts International Award, Fund for Folk Culture Fellowship, and Washington State Arts Commission’s (WSAC) Folk Arts Program Master Artist award for two years. In 2008 Ratna received Ethnic Heritage Council’s Gordon Ekvall Tracie Memorial Award and The Folk Arts Fellowship from WSAC (a Lifetime Achievement Award) for her work with Orissi dance. She has performed and conducted workshops internationally.

EVENT: Orissi: Dance of the Spirit
DATE: Friday, May 8 & Sat., May 9 at 8:00 pm
PLACE: The Evergreen State College Experimental Theater
ADMISSION: Gen. Adm. $15; Seniors/Students $5
TICKETS: Rainy Day Records, Evergreen Bookstore,, Communications Building Box Office daily from 12-3 pm or call 867-6833 to place phone orders
INFORMATION: Evergreen Expressions (360) 867-6651. For directions or more details go to

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