Our Work

Our work is motivated by two primary impulses:

  • To create art that is innovative, cuts across artistic genres and collaborative in nature, and
  • To create a bridge between the traditional and the contemporary, both thematically and in presentation.

Akshara YouTube Channel

Innovative, Multi-arts and Collaborative

celebrating-tagore2Akshara draws its inspiration to work across a range of artistic genres from the concept of “total theater” in the Natyashastra, the ancient Indian treatise on dramaturgy. Through the centuries, there existed a rich and vibrant tradition of music, dance, movement, spoken word, poetry and visual art, all working together to create aesthetic experiences for the audiences. Some of our innovative past works have included:

  • Celebrating Tagore: Translations through Music, Dance, and Poetry” (Indian classical dance, performers from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, including the 90-member University Choir, a 20-piece string orchestra, and students and faculty from the Department of Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation)
  • India: A Light Within” (Odissi dance, photography and poetry)
  • Language of Mudra: the Human Quintessence” (Odissi dance, video art)
  • Karna and Kunti” (Odissi and Kathakali dance, western theater and classical Indian music)
  • The Hunt,” as part of “Representations: Asian and Asian-American Women Artists” (Odissi dance, mixed-media, video, installation and spoken word)

Traditional and Contemporary

Srishti Dances of India’s company performance of “Dasavatar” at the Erasing Borders/Downtown Dance Festival in New York City

Sreyashi Dey, co-founder of Akshara, has had a distinguished career as a classical Odissi dancer, teacher and choreographer. Along with her dance company, Srishti Dances of India Sreyashi has presented numerous traditional performances in most major cities of the US, as well as in India, Europe and Asia. A few highlights of the traditional repertoire performance include:

  • 10-15 city annual US performance tours of productions such as “Shatarupa,” “Lavanya,” “Yugma,” “Angika,” and “Samudra”
  • Annual home season performances in Pittsburgh, PA and Ann Arbor, MI
  • Invited performances in India at the India Habitat Center and India International Center in New Delhi, Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Uday Shankar Dance Festival in Kolkata, Rasasvada Dance Festival in Bangalore
  • Collaborative new choreography of Odissi with other styles of Indian classical dance such as Bharatanatyam, Manipuri, and Kathakali
  • New thematic choreography “Ananta” based on Sanskrit verses from ancient Hindu scriptures
  • Ramayana: A Cross-cultural Dance Drama of India and Indonesia,” collaboration of Indian classical dance and music with Indonesian Gamelan and Javanese dance
  • Our World: One People, Many Faces” (Odissi dance, contemporary American dance and Congolese dance)

In parallel, we have worked in contemporary formats with long term collaborators: paint and mixed-media artists, photographers, video artists, poets and actors, with their work becoming an integral part of our contemporary productions.