Dancing Sutra

Sutra Dancer

This post is a bit more than a month late, but I want to pay tribute to Ramli Ibrahim and the Sutra Dance Theatre of Malaysia, the most brilliant interpreters of traditional Indian Odissi dance I have seen. Their program, “Dancing Sutra”, was performed under a majestic neem tree in the outskirts of Pondicherry on 19 December, 2006.

The programme:

Mangala Charanam
Two celestial dancers descend from their heavenly abode to dance the invocatory Mangala Charanam for the delectation of the Gods and mortals. Hari Haro, the powerful composite personification of both Shiva and Vishnu are specially invoked. Then they give their blessings to the audience.

Sutra Dancers - 2

Dasavatar
Taken from Jayadeva’s Gita Govanda, the Dasavatar is based on the Hindu belief that when there is an imbalance of good and evil, Krishna (manifestation of Vishnu, the Preserver) will incarnate himself through one of his previous 9 incarnations as The Fish, The Turtle, The Boar, The Man-Lion, The Dwarf, Parasurama the Warrior Priest, Rama, Balarama and Buddha. The last Kalki who will finally dissolve the universe is yet to come.

Sutra Dancers - 3

Kadamba Bane Bansi
The spirit of Radha, forever pining for her Krishna, appears. In the mango grove, Radha is restless and tortured by love. Her resistance finally melts when she hears Krishna’s flute. She begs Lalita, her confidante, to take her immediately to the cause of her anguish, Krishna. But Krishna, the master of tricks and illusion, is not totally blameless for the frequent quarrels with Radha. Having sported and enjoyed himself with the other gopis, he returns guiltily to Radha, who is naturally angry and unforgiving.

Sutra Dancers - 4

Aditya Archana
From ancient times, Surya has always been the object of worship. Emerging from the primordial waters, he sits on a lotus in his golden chariot drawn by seven horses, representing the seven colors, and driven by his charioteer, Aruna. Surya is not only regarded as the source of light and knowledge, but that of the worlds. Thus, he is known as Aditya.

Sutra Dancers - 5

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2 Responses to “Dancing Sutra”


  1. 1 Vi January 23, 2007 at 4:11 am

    Lovely, lovely pictures.

  2. 2 Miet Bleyen January 29, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Odissi is a great art, one of the greatest arts on earth. The pictures are really good. Great dancers and fantastic photographer!


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