Indian Classical Dancer Steps Foot on Cambodia Stage

Muny Sithyna / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Ms. Meghna Das’ previous performance on stage. (Photo: India Embassy, Phnom Penh)

PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Bridging gap of a centuries, Odissi, one of India’s oldest surviving dance forms, returns Friday to Cambodia’s stage.
 
Dating back to the 1st century B.C, Odissi originated in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, a coastal region with a long history of interchange with Southeast Asia. 
 
During the Angkor Period, from the 9th to 15th centuries, India exerted strong cultural and religious influence over the Khmer Empire.
 
Odissi will be performed at Chaktomuk Theater on Friday at 17:30. As part of celebrations of India’s Independence Day, admission will be free.
 
“Odissi is a part of our diverse culture,” said Megna Das who performed a first dance Thursday night at the theater. “It is among the eight ancient dances in Indian culture. 
 
The dance was traditionally done in the temples by young women as a form of worship.”
 
“Odissi has a specific kind of music that is distinct from other dance form,” she told the Khmer Times. “In terms of the movements, it is a very lyrical graceful dance form, as the body flows like water. 
 
Odissi is the only dance form in India that uses silver as a jewel; other dance forms use stones or gold.”
Thursday night’s piece was called “Yahi Madhava.” It portrayed a sad love story of a young girl, Radha, waiting for her lover, Krishna. 
 
She becomes upset and worried that he would not come. But when he shows up at dawn, she realizes that he was with another woman. 
 
Radha, a mortal, is in love with a divine male, Krishna. The relationship symbolizes an ordinary mortal trying to obtain union with god. 
 
Radha has to go through earthbound emotions until she understands that she has to surrender her ego to be with god. 
 
In Odisha State, images of Odissi appears in almost every temple. 
 
During the British colonization, this classical dance form began to die out during. After Independence, in 1947, a French dance critic rediscovered Odissi and worked to promote its revival. 
 
Today, Odissi is taught throughout India and  wherever Indians live.
 

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