Akshara | Sreyashi Dey | PanchaChitra



Based on Tagore’s classic dance drama, Chitrangada, this new production will present a contemporary interpretation of this classic as the story of every woman, her inner struggles and dilemmas about beauty, acceptance, self-esteem, dignity and a quest for the truth. Instead of a simple narration of the tale of the warrior princess from the Mahabharata, this innovative choreography is a fluid journey of every woman through complex internal states of mind. It is represented symbolically through Chitrangada as she transitions from her masculine to feminine persona, and eventually realizing her true self. It touches on important gender issues as she discovers the essential truth about herself through her evolving relationship with Arjun and conversations with Madan. Four female dancers represent five stages of Chitrangada’s journey, reflecting five distinct states of mind that lead her to finding herself. The production uses the classical dance style of Odissi, martial arts, contemporary movements and spoken narrations.

Sreyashi Dey is one of the foremost exponents of Odissi in the US (disciple of Guru Gangadhar Pradhan), and the Founder and Artistic Director of Srishti Dances of India. Previously also an exponent of Bharatanayam (disciple of Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan), as a thoughtful artist, she constantly expands her creative horizons with new choreographies and collaborations across artistic genres. She regularly tours the US and has performed all over the world – in Europe, Asia and India. Her work has been critically acclaimed by well-known critics in leading newspapers and magazines in the US, such as the New York Times, as well as in leading media in India. She has been the recipient of several awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and several premier foundations in the US. Sreyashi’s educational background includes an MS in Economics and an MBA, with parallel careers in marketing, University of Michigan administration and non-profit. She was the founder of SPARSH, an Ann Arbor non-profit that established and supported a pediatric heart surgery program at a community hospital in India for disadvantaged children.

Ananya Kar
Ananya Kar’s odyssey in Odissi began with Guru Sreyashi Dey. Since 2008, Ananya has been visiting Odisha to study Odissi in more depth under the guidance of Guru Manoranjan Pradhan, and Guru Minati Pradhan. Ananya has performed extensively as a soloist as well as in groups at various festivals and programs in the U.S.A., Canada, and India.

Soumi Ghosh is a disciple of Sreyashi Dey and is trained in Odissi since 2016. Earlier, she has received her training in Bharatanatyam from Guru Khagendra Nath Barman, Mrs Lata Poduval, Mr. Ramkrisnha Chattopadhyay and Mr. Ram Kumar Bhattacharjee in India. She has performed in India and the US. Currently, she is pursuing PhD in Chemistry at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Sampurna Datta is a disciple of Sreyashi Dey and is trained in Odissi since 2016. In her early years, she received her training in Kathak and Rabindra-Nritya from Ms. Manjira Saha in Kolkata, India. She has performed in India and the US. Currently, she is pursuing PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Debnita Talapatra
Debnita initially started dance training in Bharatnatyam at the age of six and has been a disciple of Sreyashi De since 2006. She found her calling in Odissi and declared her dedication to the form. She was also fortunate to receive training from dance maestros Manoranjan Pradhan, Jhelum Paranjape and Ratikant Mohapatra.  Dance being her passion, she is also practices various other forms including western and contemporary. She enjoys teaching, choreographing and participating in dance programs across the nation.