Orissi: Jhansi Ki Rani

For Immediate Release

May 17, 2010

Media contact: John S. Robbins,
Performing and Media Arts Manager
(360) 867-6651

Dance Drama Honoring Jhansi Ki Rani, The Warrior Queen

A Dance Drama telling the story of the 19th century Warrior Queen of India, Rani Laxmi Bai, will be performed at The Evergreen State College on Thursday June 3rd, Friday June 4th, and Saturday June 5th, at 8:00 pm in the Experimental Theatre at the Evergreen campus in Olympia. General admission tickets are $15, $10 for seniors and $5 for Students, Faculty and Staff now on sale at Rainy Day Records, The Evergreen Bookstore, online at BuyOlympia.com, the Communications Building box office, from 12 to 3 pm daily,
or by placing a phone order at (360) 867-6833.

Jhansi Ki Rani was the queen of Jhansi, India in 1857.  India was a victim of British Imperialism and the East India Company had begun tossing aside Indian rulers one by one.  Jhansi Ki Rani was not easily removed. She pursued diplomatic solutions but meanwhile The Sepoy Mutiny, known as the First War of Independence in India, had begun.   The Indian soldiers serving in the East India Company armies rebelled against the British and with diplomatic efforts failing the Queen was left with no choice but to fight to protect her kingdom and her people.  She created a rebel army of men and women training them in artillery, horsemanship and swordsmanship. The performance will tell the story of Rani Laxmi Bai’s transformation into a warrior queen that has made her both hero and legend in India yet today.

Students in the program Dance Intensive, have been training under the college’s world renowned dance faculty, Ratna Roy and Kabby Mitchell in both Orissi and Ballet.  The two classical styles will be danced together on stage, each representing its respective culture.

Born in the coastal districts of the state of Orissa, India, Orisssi has been described variously as “movement meditation,” “music in motion.” The waters of the ocean at the Bay of Bengal are reflected in the gentle lyrical swaying of the torso, the breeze through the leaves of the palm trees in the circular movement of the wrist, and the heartbeat of Mother Earth in the pulsating rhythms and footslaps.

Ballet is characterized by the dancer’s ability to have precise point work and graceful body movements, even during physically demanding holds and jumps that can create the illusion of floating. Ballet is a dance of the air and of grace. Ballet first became a noticed and desired entertainment for the courts in the late fifteen hundreds during the Italian Renaissance. Ballet later reached other European countries such as France, where the collaboration of music, art, poetry, and dance fascinated aristocracy.Waltz was not established until the mid eighteenth century, and was regarded as a very controversial dance due it’s closed stature; a man facing a woman. Originating in Vienna, the Waltz was then called the Walzer which in Latin root Volver indicates rotating motion. Waltz in ballet is seen as a formal yet party dance

Orissi dance was nearly lost under British rule in India. After Independence, the gurus and scholars painstakingly recreated into classical dance what was known as the "Gotipua" dance. The temple dance tradition, a legacy of the female Mahari dancers, was left untouched. Ratna Roy's guru, Pankaj Charan Das, barely kept the flame of these powerful female dancers alive. The legacy has now been passed down to us in the State of Washington, and the students and alumni at Evergreen are working on keeping the tradition alive.


EVENT: The Warrior Queen
DATE: Thurs, Fri, Sat., June 3, 4, 5, 2010
PLACE: The Evergreen State College Experimental Theater
ADMISSION:  Gen. Adm. $15; Seniors $8; Students/Faculty/Staff  $5
TICKETS: Rainy Day Records, Evergreen Bookstore, BuyOlympia.com, Communications
Building Box Office daily from 12-3 pm or call 867-6833 to place phone orders
INFORMATION:   Evergreen Expressions (360) 867-6651. For directions or more details go to

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