ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: DR. RATNA ROY
MANAGING DIRECTOR: DAVID J. CAPERS
Established in 1975, Urvasi Dance Company has practiced and promoted the research and practice of classical Odissi/Orissi dance from India in Seattle and Olympia, Washington, USA.
The Classical Odissi dance, as performed by the Urvasi Dance Company, is in the little-known Mahari tradition of Guru Pankaj Charan Das. However, Urvasi has embraced Odissi dancers from other styles as part of the company. The Orissi (literary transliteration) or Odissi (the popular transliteration) dance style is characterized by the unique sculpturesque quality, the separation of the upper torso from the lower half of the body, and in the constant juxtaposition of rhythmic strength with lyrical torso movements. Reconstructed from debilitated remains in the 50ís, Odissi took India by storm in the 70ís and Europe in the 80ís. Ratna Roy was trained under the guru or gurus, one of the principal masters responsible for the reconstruction of Orissi and has performed internationally in Europe, Asia, and North America (US, Canada, and Mexico). She is completing her book on the reconstruction and teaches Expressive Arts (dance) and literature at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
In the last 10 years, Urvasi Dance Company has focused on keeping the Mahari tradition, as taught by Guru Pankaj Charan Das, of Orissi dance alive. Little known in most of India, the tradition is characterized by the lyrical torso movements (even more so than the style most visible in India) and the powerful portrayal of female characters from the myths and epics of India. Click the Mahari repertoire to read what Urvasi has preserved.
Unfortunately, this is only a fraction of all the marvelous Urvasi dancers over the years. While I will probably never have the time to include everyone, I do intend to soon (as of today January 5th, 2011) bring this page up to current on present Urvasi dancers .
RATNA ROY was the first Urvasi Dancer. Her guru was Pankaj Charan Das in Orissa, India. Ratna's first Classical Indian Dance was Kathak, which she began training in at the age of four. In her teens Ratna trained in Bharatanatyam, and afer achieving her Ph.D. in American English Literature, took up the study of Odissi when teaching at the B.J.B. College in Bhubaneswar, Orissa. Ratna has been performing Orissi-Odissi for decades on stages from India to the Americas, Africa and East Asia. She has taught Orissi both in private lessons and as a full credited three year college course at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
SHYAMALI ROY HAUTH trained in Pankaj Das style from 1977 to 1980 under the guru of gurus, Padmashree Pankaj Charan Das, in Puri, India. She then trained under her mother, Dr. Ratna Roy. Shyamali retired from Odissi to become a mother of three strapping boys, who all grew up to be fine young men, and a talented daughter, Mina, who excells at Irish music. Mina took first place playing harp in Eastern United States, and is currently studying both Irish music and Irish dance.
GARGY BANERJEE, a member of Urvasi since 1994, was well-known in her home country, Canada. Gargy retired from performance to work in accounting.
FRANK PETTY began Orissi as an Evergreen student years ago, but become an integral part of Urvasi for years. Frank earned his Masters Degree in New York City. After returning to the Pacific Northwest he rejoined Urvasi, but eventually retired from performance to work for Microsoft.
SCHEHERAZAAD COOPER was initially away to Queen's College in Ontario, Canada, working on her undergraduate degree. Sheherazaad is currently working on her Ph.D. in England where she continues to practice Odissi to acclaim. Sheherazaad continues to perform Odissi, both in England and Canada.
JAMIE LYNN COLLEY currently teaches Orissi as adjunct faculty at The Evergreen State College. Jamie still dances frequently with Urvasi and continues regularly to refine her Odissi skills and advance her understanding of the art form under the tutelage of Ratna Roy. Her performances have been acclaimed in Orissa, India.
FRANK earned his Masters In Teaching degree at The Evergreen State College. Frank has retired from performance and is currently teaching high school in Washington State.
SITARA THOBANI performed her Odissi Ranga Pravesh in Vancouver, B.C., August of 2005. Sitara is currently working on her Ph.D. in University of Oxford, England, and she continues to practice Odissi and perform in London. Sitara continues to perform Odissi both in England and Canada.
AIMEE MACHIELS due to a foot injury Aimee is currently on haitus from dance performances.
RUTH NELSON-MOORE moved to Northern California and had a baby. Each summer, and whenever else she can, she returns to Ratna Roy for advanced training. Ruth has recently opened an Odissi school there with blessings from her guru, Ratna Roy.
(To see a performer's photograph and read more about them, click on her, or his, highlighted underlined name)
Urvasi will next perform or present a workshop at:
or email Ratna Roy: RatnaRoy@urvasidance.com
Ratna may no longer be reached at (360) 867-6469
Evergreen College has discontinued messages for Professors Emeritus.
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