Archive of Urvasi Performances

Urvasi Dancers perform mainly the womanist, or woman centered, choreographies of Guru Pankaj Charan Das. Goddess dances are particularly strong in Guru Pankaj Das style of Odissi. This page is a beginning attempt to keep some archive of (recent) performances by Urvasi Dancers. We have been performing on American stages since the 1970's, and internationally since the 1980's. Unfortunately, records have not been meticulously kept. In 2001, David began trying to keep an online record. There are also newspaper clippings of earlier performances stored in boxes, which may someday make their way onto this page. Some additional information/images may be found in the recently added Performances section.


November 26, 2005 (Saturday), 3:00 PM: The Ethnic Heritage Council will host it's 6th Annual Winter Worldfest at the Seattle Center, Seattle Washington from November 25th through the 27th. Urvasi will perform Saturday in the Center House. For information about other acts visit the Ethnic Heritage Council website.

November 11, 2005 (Friday), 6:30 PM: Urvasi will perform at the Kashmiri Earthquake Relief Benefit at the Eagles Lodge Ballroom, 805 4th Ave, in Olympia, Washington. Tickets are available at Rainy Day Records & Traditions: $30 per person; $20 for students. Dinner provided by Mehfil Restaurant. The tickets are selling fast, so do not delay. Reservations can be made at (360) 867-6389. Relief donations may also be made to Edhi Foundation, 4511 National Street, Corona, New York 13168.

November 12, 2005 (Saturday), 6:40 PM: Urvasi will performing at the Fifteenth Annual Cultural Crossroads Festival in Bellevue, Washington. See the Cultural Crossroads website for more information.

January 29, 2005, 6:00 PM: Urvasi Dance will perform at Seattle University's International Dinner at the Campion Ballroom on campus. Tickets, $10 for general admission, $8 for Seattle U. students, and $5 for children under seven, are available at the International Student Center at Seattle U. WARNING, this event always sells out in advance. Please purchase tickets well ahead. For more information call (206) 296-6260 or send queries to isc@seattleu.edu.

January 29, 2005, Noon to 4:00 PM: Urvasi dancers will perform at India's Republic Day Celebration, produced by the Indian Association of Western Washington. There will be a cover charge collected at the door. Requests for Tsunami Relief efforts will be made during the program. For more event information visit IAWW.

There are still recent performances to be listed for 2004. Your patience is appreciated. --David


December 3rd & 4th, 2004, 8:00 PM: The Evergreen Orissi Dance Ensemble, and some Urvasi dancers, will perform dances choreographed by Padmashri Guru Pankaj Charan Das, and staged by Ratna Roy at The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington. For more information see the performance page.

June 18, 2004, 7:00 PM: Urvasi Dancers performed at the New Delhi Habitat Centre’s Stein Auditorium, HCL Concert series for Master artists: (My apologies for not getting this up sooner, but there was so much to do in preparing for the trip, it slipped my mind--david) The evening's performance was a Shraddhanjali to Padmashri Guru Pankaj Charan Das, on his first death anniversary. All of the dancers and the musicians paid homage to the great guru. Fortunately, Arshiya Sethi had just returned from the US. She gave an excellent introduction to Guru Pankaj Charan Das, the dancers and the dances. That was followed by the first dance:

"Nava Durga," performed as a Mangalacharana by Scheherazaad Cooper
"Mahari Suchi Sringar," was performed by Sitara Thobani
"Sankarabharanam Pallavi" (duet with Scheherazaad & Sitara)
"Kuru Yadu Nandana," an Ashtapadi by Ratna Roy
"Vasanta Pallavi" a solo by Chapala Mishra
"Draupadi," one of the Pancha Kanya dances, by Ratna

All of the dances came from Guru Pankaj Charan Das' solo choreography. The musicians accompanying the dancers were: Sri Ghana Shyama Panda and Smt. Minati Bhanja on voice, Sri Dhaneswar Swain on mardala, Sri Ramesh Chandra Das on violin, Sri Jyoti Mishra on sitar, Sri Parasurama Das on flute, and Sri Suryakanta Pani on manjira.

Padmashri Dr. Sunil Kothari wrote:

Dear Prof. Ratna Roy,

It was indeed a great pleasure to attend your Odissi performance on the 18th June, 2004 at the India Habitat center in New Delhi and also see the excellent work you have been doing for maintaining the legacy of the late legendary Guru Pankaj Charan Das, whose Mahari style has been so meticulously maintained by you. It was also a pleasure to see how well you have succeeded in transmitting the technique to your students. Their performance also looked very refreshing.


Hope you had a safe journey back home.

With regards,

Yours sincerely,
Dr Sunil Kothari


May 28, 2004: 21 Urvasi dancers went on stage for the Folklife Festival.

May 18, 2004: The Evergreen Orissi Dance Ensemble danced at the Green Hill School for the youth in the Correctional Center.

May 11, 2004: The Evergreen Orissi Dance Ensemble danced at the Maple Lane School for the youth in the Correctional Center.

May 10, 2004: Urvasi performed for the Health Fair in Seattle, 12-1 p.m.

May 1st, 2004, 3:00 PM: Urvasi Dancers performed at Lakewood's International Festival 2004 (a fundraiser for Lakewood Sister Cities Association--a nonprofit charitable organization) on the Fireside Stage of Pierce College.

Pierce College
Fort Steilacoom Campus
9401 Farwest Drive
Lakewood, WA 98499

Directions to Pierce College -- From I-5:

_Take Gravelly Lake Exit (exit #124)
(There are direction signs to College at off-ramp)
_From North (Seattle) turn Right onto Gravelly Lake Drive.
_From South (Olympia) turn Left onto Gravelly Lake Drive (crossing over freeway)
_Follow Gravelly Lake Dr. to Washington Blvd. (4th light on Gravelly Lake Dr. after freeway)
_Left on Washington Blvd. (Washington Blvd will turn into Military Road)
_Stay on Washington Blvd as it curves to right.
_Right on 112th.
_Left immediately onto Farwest Drive.
_Stay on Farwest Drive until Pierce College is on right side.
_Turn into Main Entrance and park in Lots F, E, D, or B.
_Follow signs to Lakewood International Festival 2004

April 29, 2004: Urvasi performed for the Ethnic Festival at Gray's Harbor College in Aberdeen.

April 15, 16, & 17, 2004, at 8:00 PM: TRUTH: MOVEMENTS OF PEACE at the Evergreen State College was presented by the Dance, Creativity and Culture program. This was a cutting edge performance incorporating cultural hybridity to create a unique perspective on oppression. Ticket information.

March 20th 2004, 6:30 PM: An Urvasi Dancer, Sitara Thobani, performed at the PPI (People for Progress in India) Annual Fund Raising Event. The price is $50 per person ($20 for students). Sitara will performed Nava Durga, Batu, Mahari Suchi Sringar, and Sankarabharanam Pallavi, after the dinner was served. The event took place at the Northshore Senior Center in Bothel, Washington. For more information, or to learn more about PPI and their work in India visit www.ppi-usa.org.

February 20-22: Ratna Roy presented a paper at the Barbara Stoler Miller Conference in New York as an invited guest.

danceviewnewyork, writers on dancing
The DanceView Times, New York edition

Letter from New York
23 February 2004.
Copyright © 2004 by Mindy Aloff

...Barnard College and Columbia University hosted a remarkable program on the music and dance of India: “Contesting Pasts, Performing Futures: Nationalism, Globalization, and the Performing Arts in Modern South Asia” (the 2004 Barbara Stoler Miller Conference). I wasn’t able to get to the live performance; however, the academic session I attended was passionate and brainy—and filled with people who were agreeing on disagreeing about the discrepancy between theory and practice. The paper topics and their presenters are listed below; yet I’d like to note that the films of Orissi dancing presented by Ratna Roy of Evergreen State College were among the most amazing dance performances I’ve seen in New York this year. They included a teenager who tossed off bourrées on half-toe that were so perfectly matched they seemed to speak; five boys (ages 9 to 15) trained to dance Orissi using a feminine technique, who were so good that someone from the audience asked their gender; and an 86 year-old Orissi diva, who danced while seated, as, according to Professor Roy, she had a temperature of 102 on the day she was filmed. Common to all of them was an ease of execution that made their dancing look as natural as breathing, regardless of the difficulty of the choreography or its demands on stamina. It’s good to be reminded that there are still dancers in the world who dance like that.
--Mindy Aloff

February 14, 2004: Workshop: "The Journey to the Goddess Within" was offered at the Women of Wisdom Conference in Seattle, Washington. The two hour workshop happened from 1:30 - 4:30 PM. "The images of the Goddess Within have been given different names and characteristics in India. In the workshop, participants recreated through dance movement these images. [Each woman can then own the images she feels most important to her own spirituality and empowerment.]"

For information on workshop costs and for registration visit the Women of Wisdom website at  www.womenofwisdom.org, or call them at (206) 782-3363.

January 25, 2004: Performance: Several of the Seattle Orissi students, and one from Vancouver performed at the Indian Association of Western Washington celebration of Indian Republic Day. The celebration took place at Shoreline Conference Center: 18560 1st Avenue NE, Shoreline, WA 98155. The event was from noon until 4 PM. Orissi students performing were:

Sitara Thobani (Vancouver, Canada)
Joyita Banerjee
Ishanie Choudhury
Jaya Ghosh
Natasha Mahapatro
Shivani Mahapatro
Arunima Roy

January 17, 2004: As part of the Martin Luther King celebration at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia, Washington, (12-4 PM) students from the Dance, Creativity, and Culture Program at TESC (The Evergreen State College) will be performing "Broken Dreams" between Martin Luther King Junior and Malcolm X. "Broken Dreams" is choreographed by Ratna Roy, faculty at TESC.

Admission is free.

The event will be broadcast later in the evening (8:30 PM) on Olympia's TCTV.


MLK Jr.:    Chris Ferguson
Malcolm X:    Kiel Moton
White Farmers:    Rebecca Dalton
Natika Shewry
Vagrant:    Stella Rivet
Iron Miner:    Stephanie Tilton
Blue Collar Worker:    Matt
Black Northern Drunk with Friends:    Chris Ferguson

Black Person (for being Black):   

Kiel Moton


DECEMBER 27, 2003: Ratna was invited to present a paper at the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre's national seminar on ‘Pancha Kanyas of Indian Epics.’ According to the December 27th, 2003, Calcutta Telegraph, panelists spoke on Panchakanyas as Mahapatakanashini with special reference to Tara and Mandodori (Dr Nrisinha Prasad Bhaduri); The Five Kanyas as a means of understanding Indian Philosophy (Dr Ratna Roy); Ahalya as a Kanya (Dr Pratibha Roy); Kunti as a Kanya (Dr Chitra Chaturvedi);  Draupadi as a Kanya (Prof. Archna Sahni); and Draupadi in my eyes (Saoli Mitra). That evening the seminar was followed by the Panchyakanya Odissi dance choreographies of Padmashri Guru Pankaj Charan Das as presented by Ratna Roy with Scheherazaad Cooper and Sitara Thobani. The musicians accompanying them were Sri Ghanashyam Panda and Smt. Minati Bhanja (voice), Sri Dhaneswar Swain on mardala, Sri Ramesh Das on violin, Sri Jyoti Mishra on sitar, Sri Parasuram Das on flute, and Sri Suryakanta Pani on manjira. The performance was at 6 pm at Purbashree Bharatiyam Cultural Multiplex (photos of Cultural Multiplex), IB 201 Salt Lake, Kolkata (Calcutta).

NOVEMBER 7-8, 2003: SHRADDHANJALI: A TRIBUTE TO PADMASHREE GURU PANKAJ CHARAN DAS: At The Evergreen State College, two evenings of performances pay tribute to Guru Pankaj Charan Das, who died on June 11, leaving Orissi dancers with a great loss. The first evening opens with "Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu," choreographed by Ratna Roy and danced by Joyita Banerjee, Ishanie Choudhury, Jaya Ghosh, Natasha Mahapatro, Shibani Mahapatro, and Arunima Roy. The other dancers performing are: Marissa Betz-Zall, Patricia Billings, Frank Casey, Scheherazaad Cooper, Blair Holt, Frank Petty III, Jessica Ryan, Ratna Roy, Jazmine Fox-Sterns, Aimee Machiels, Sitara Thobani, and Priyanka Ganguly-Wilkins.

OCTOBER 25, 2003: India Arts and Heritage Society, Dewali Festival, Seattle, Washington. Urvasi performances by Ratna Roy, Sitara Thobani, Frank Casey, Priyanka Wilkins, and Mala Nugehally. (more information in Awards section)

OCTOBER 21, 2003: Urvasi performance at Green Hill Juvenile Correctional Center in Centralia, Washington. Performers: Ratna Roy, Jamie Lynn Colley, Frank Casey.

AUGUST 28-31, 2003: Urvasi will be performing choreographies of the Late Padmashri Guru Pankaj Charan Das in Washington, DC at the 2nd International Odissi Dance Festival. As currently scheduled, there will be a group choreography during the second session (3-6PM) on the 29th, August, and a solo on the 31st, also during the second session (2-5:30 PM).

MAY 19 - AUG. 28, 2003: Some of David's photographic works of Orissi Dance are on display at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.

"India: A Confluence of Cultures. Exhibit at Odegaard Undergraduate Library, UW Campus. Features of the exhibition include images of India by four local photographers, David Capers, Niranjan Benegal, Suvro Datta and Mahesh Massand; displays of costumes and jewelry, textiles, and food; and exhibits featuring the art, architecture, language and popular culture of India. Complimenting these exhibits are lectures by UW or visiting faculty, as well as musical and dance performances by local and visiting artists.

Co-sponsored by UW Department of Asian Languages and Literature, UW Department of South Asian Studies, UW Department of Ethnomusicology, Ragamala and the University's Indian Graduate Students Association."

JULY 24, 2003 (7:30 PM):  University of Washington, Odegaard Undergraduate Library, Room 220: Ratna Roy will speak on "Orissi: From Temple to Stage," accompanied by a slide presentation by photographer David Capers.

JUNE 28, 2003 (7:30 PM): Urvasi dancers, Ratna Roy and Scheherazaad Cooper, will perform during the Center for Sacred Art's, Kindling the Fire: Invoking the Divine Mother concert. 

Performance at the Trinity Parish Episcopal Church, 609 8th Ave., Seattle, WA. (on 8th between James and Cherry ). For more information visit Center for Sacred Art.

MAY 26, 2003 (1-1:30 PM): The Evergreen Orissi Dance Ensemble will perform at the Seattle Center Pavilion A, during the 2003 Northwest Folklife Festival.

Dances: A portion of the new Gativilas Pallavi and the staple Batu, dance of the dream of a sculptor.

Dancers: Ana Aguinaga, Joyita Banerjee, Frank Casey, Ishanie Choudhury, Jamie Lynn Colley, Scheherazaad Cooper, Jaya Ghosh, Natasha Mahapatro, Shivani Mahapatro, Anurima Roy, Sitara Thobani, Jessica, Aimee, and Sophia.

May 26, 2003 (4-4:30 PM): Urvasi Dance Company will be on the Mercer Arena stage at the 2003 Northwest Folklife Festival.

Dances: Shiva Mangalacharana and Sankarabharanam Pallavi, as well as the popular Saveri Pallavi.

Dancers: Marissa Betz-Zall, Frank Casey, Jamie Lynn Colley, Scheherazaad Cooper, Frank Petty, Sitara Thobani, and Priyanka Wilkins.

February 7 & 8, 2003 (8:00 PM): Orissi Classical Dance performance in the Mahari Style of Pankaj Charan Das in the Recital Hall of the Communications Building at The Evergreen State College. Orissi Dancers are:

Ana Aquinaga
Anne Marshall
Blair Holt
Bonny Chowdhury
Frank Casey
Frank Petty
Jamie Lynn Colley
Jazmine Fox-Sterns
Marissa Betz-Zall
Meg Hunt
Patricia Billings
Priyanka Wilkins
Ratna Roy
Roslynn Tellvik
Sitara Thobani
Suditi Lahiri

Meg Hunt is returning to Evergreen from retirement in Alaska for this performance.

February 15, 2003 (1:30 -- 4:30 PM): Ratna will be giving an Orissi Dance movement workshop, Shri: The Goddess Body, at the Women of Wisdom conference in Seattle.

October 26, 2002 (7:00 -- 9:00 PM): There will be an URVASI performance in the Auditorium at Bastyr University. Bastyr is in Kenmore, WA. (Driving directions)

Tickets at the door:
$10 for adults,
$8 for students, and
$5 for children.
Parking is free.

October 5th 2002: Evergreen Expressions is presenting Aruna Mohanty in Olympia Washington at The Evergreen State College Saturday the 5th. The performance will be in the Experimental Theater in the Communications Building at 8:00 PM. A full house is anticipated so come early for tickets. Also performing that night is Yudhisthir Nayak (Jujhi). Yudhisthir is currently in residence in San Diego. Both are students of Guru Shri Gangadhar Pradhan. Aruna has been performing Orissi on stages of India since the 1970's. She has also performed abroad. Aruna is a graceful Orissi dancer and a genuine pleasure to watch. Yudhisthir, though not as senior a dancer as Aruna is talented and polished. He can also play mardala (Orissian drum), a valuable asset when teaching Orissi and when touring. Aruna and Ydhisthir are accompanied by live musicians from Orissa:

Vocal: Bijay Jena
Violin: Ramesh Chandra Das
Sitar: Jyoti Mishra
Mardal: Bijay Barik

October 11th: Portland and October 12th: Seattle. Before continuing their tour of the western hemisphere the Orissan troupe will give two more Northwest performances. These are sponsored by the Rasika Arts Council. In Portland and Seattle the troupe will also be joined by the Patnaik Sisters--to find even more information about these three dedicated young dancers use just about any search engine!

For further information about the Indian troupe's Western tour kindly contact: patnaikp@saic.com.

September 28th & 29th (11 AM to 2 PM): ORISSI WORKSHOPS. (South Studio at 1412 12th Ave. Seattle, WA)

Sept. 28th: Orissi Workshop for Beginners.

Sept. 29th: Dance of Kali workshop, for those who had the Orissi Workshop for Beginners, Orissi dance classes/lessons, or earlier Orissi workshops.

August 25th, 2002 (Sunday): The Ashtanga Yoga Center is hosting a Hindu cultural event in Seattle complete with Sanskrit ceremonies. Urvasi Dancers will perform one item sometime in the afternoon/evening. I'll have more information to put on this page later today (8/21), including the location and directions for those unfamiliar with the area. (David)

August 23nd, 2002: Got a call-back today. Sorry, can't provide directions. Turns out this is a private party for Ashtanga Yoga people to celebrate with their Yogi who's visiting from India.

August 22nd, 2002: Never received a call back from Ashtanga Yoga today. Will try again tomorrow.

July 4th, 2002 (Thursday, 1:00 - 2:00 PM): Urvasi and Kalpataru dancers performed at the Ocean Shores Heritage Festival.

Correction of error in the festival promotional materials: The performance is described as "Middle Eastern Dance." Rest assured, we will be performing Orissi dance.

The Festival will be from 12:00 to 5:00 PM.
Performances will be in the
Ocean Shores Convention Center Main Auditorium.

 For more information about the festival contact:

North Beach Human Resources Coalition
PO Box 853
Ocean Shores WA 98569
Phone (360) 289-0155
or e-mail: silvertoned@earthlink.net

June 15th, 2002 (Saturday) 4:00 PM: Super Saturday at The Evergreen State College. Leisure Ed Stage

There were three Orissi Dance events during the 2002 Folklife Festival at the Seattle Center.

May 24th, 2002 (Friday, 3:00 p.m.): Ratna gave an Orissi Dance Workshop at the Center House Court.

May 26th, 2002 (Sunday, 7:00 p.m.): Kalpataru performed in the Rainier Room.

May 26th, 2002 (Sunday, 7:40 p.m.): Urvasi Dancers performed in the Rainier Room.

December 17th-19th, 2001: Habitat Center, New Delhi, India. Dancers: Ratna Roy, Shyamali Roy Hauth.

February 23rd, 2002: 9-12 p.m.: Dance of Kali, Workshop by Ratna Roy at the Women of Wisdom Conference in Seattle.

November 30th, December 1st, 2001: 7:30 p.m. Seattle Center. Dancers: Ratna Roy, Scheherazaad Cooper, Sitara Thobani , Jamie Lynn Colley, Frank Casey. Musicians: John Merrell (mardala), John Abrahams (tabla), Forest Stone (sitar), Jamie Lynn Colley & CJ Hanekamp (vocals), Ana Aguinaga (manjira).

November 25th, 2001: Ottawa, Canada. Dancer: Scheherazaad Cooper.
Scheherazaad was one of five winners in the dance competitions.

November 16th, 2001: 11a.m.-noon; noon-1 p.m. Highline Community College
Des Moines, Washington.Dancers: Ratna Roy, Jamie Lynn Colley, Frank Casey. Musicians: John Merrell (mardala), John Abrahams (tabla), Forest Stone (sitar),
Jamie Lynn Colley & CJ Hanekamp (vocals), Ana Aguinaga (manjira).

November 9th & 10th, 2001: 8:00PM. The Evergreen State College Recital Hall, Olympia, WA.  Dancers: Ratna Roy, Gargy Banerjee, Scheherazaad Cooper, Sitara Thobani , Jamie Lynn Colley, Frank Casey. Musicians: John Merrell (mardala), John Abrahams (tabla), Forest Stone (sitar), Jamie Lynn Colley & CJ Hanekamp (vocals), Ana Aguinaga (manjira).

August 12, 2001: Urvasi was at the India Festival 2001, in Portland Oregon. Jamie Lynn Colley, Frank Casey, and Sitara Thobani performed. 

July 7, 2001: Urvasi performed at the Heritage Festival in Redmond, Washington. Shyamali Roy Hauth, Jamie Lynn Colley and Frank Casey, and Gargy Banerjee performed. 

Memorial Day weekend, 2001, Sunday: Urvasi was at the Folklife Festival, in Seattle. Ratna and Jamie performed Durga. Scheherazaad and Sitara performed Vasanta Pallavi. John Merrell played the mardala (drum) for Ratna and Jamie's last item.