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Namita Bodaji
with Samskara Academy of Fine Arts (Mumbai, India)
and Houston Azerbaijanis Folk Dance Group

April 30, 2008, 7:00pm
University of St Thomas Jones Hall
[Building 14]
3800 Montrose Blvd.
Houston, Texas 77006

Presented by Modern and Classical Languages
Parking: Moran Center, West Alabama at Graustark

Sunday, May 4, 2008, 7:00pm
Rice University Hamman Hall
[Building 25]
6100 Main Street
Houston, Texas 77005

Presented by KTRU, Rice University Radio
Parking: Entrance 20 and 21 on Rice Blvd.

Doors open at 6:30pm. Admission: $10; $5 for students and seniors

For More Information

Phone: 713-521-3686
Email: info@houstonculture.org
See photos and program information below.

Performances made possible with generous support from

Namita Bodaji, Sringar Mani

Samskara Academy of Fine Arts (Mumbai, India)

Houston Azerbaijanis Folk Dance Group

Namita Bodaji Presents Bharatajazzyam

Namita Bodaji will present a traditional program of Bharatanatyam fused with modern influences and titled Bharatajazzyam at University of St Thomas, Jones Hall at 7:00pm, Wednesday, April 30, 2008 and Rice University, Hamman Hall at 7:00pm, Sunday, May 4, 2008. Houston Azerbaijanis Folk Dance Group will begin each evening with traditional dances of Azerbaijan.

In addition to ancient traditional Indian classical dance pieces, Bodaji, a highly acclaimed dancer who holds the title Sringar Mani (Artistic Jewel), choreographs Bharatanatyam movements to interpret western contemporary music, such as "To Be By Your Side" (Winged Migration) by Nick Cave.

Bharatanatyam, one of the seven classical dances of India, developed between 3,000 to 5,000 years ago in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. It was originally performed in temples by the "devadasis" (servants of god). Ancient Hindu temples are adorned with sculptures representing Bharatanatyam dance postures.

A dramatic theory of music and dance, Natyashastra, written 2,000 years ago by "Bharata", likely forms the formal basis of Bharatanatyam and describes its usefulness as a common language, "When the world had become steeped in greed and desire, in jealousy and anger, in pleasure and pain, the Supreme One (Brahma) was asked by the people to create an entertainment which could be seen and heard by all, for the scriptures were not enjoyed by the masses, being too learned and ambiguous."

The art form received great patronage during the Chola and Maratha dynasties. Four brothers, Chinnayya, Ponniah, Sivanandam and Vadivelu of the Tanjore Court, during the rule of Maratha King Saraboji II (1798 - 1832), codified the complex language of Bharatanatyam.

Dancers use an extensive vocabulary of hand gestures and facial expressions, along with highly disciplined dance movements and poses, to reveal epic dramas and scriptures of ancient India.

Bodaji studied Bharatanatyam under the gurus of Sri Rajarajeshwari Bharata Natya Kala Mandir Institute, under the guidance of Guru G. Vasant Kumar. Bodaji has performed extensively in India as well as abroad, including London, Paris, and cities in the United States.

Bodaji's performances are known for their aesthetic touch. Her abhinaya is touching and exudes soul stirring emotions. Contemporary and gender issues are also fused in her performances.

Bodaji choreographs and teaches Bharatanatyam at the Samskara Academy in Mumbai.

Admission is moderately priced at $10; $5 for students and seniors. Doors open at 6:30pm. Houston performances by Namita Bodaji and Samskara Academy of Fine Arts are produced by Houston Institute for Culture with support from the Houston Arts Alliance, Texas Commission on the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts.

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