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Padma Shri Aruna Mohanty to Perform in Houston

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By Rathna Kumar

HOUSTON: Padma Shri Aruna Mohanty, Odissi dancer par excellence, will be performing in Houston May 6. Initially trained by eminent Guru Padma Shri Gangadhar Pradhan, Aruna further refined her art under such stalwarts as Guru Pankaj Charan Das, legendary Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Sanjukta Panigrahi and Sonal Mansingh. Her devotion, perseverance and commitment have established Aruna among the world’s most prominent Odissi dancers. Aruna’s exquisite Abhinaya (facial expression) and her brilliant group choreography, are her greatest assets. Extensive research, her Gurus’ valuable, and her own innovative thinking, all these elements combined make her productions a most aesthetic and memorable Odissi experience for audiences all over the world. Some of her choreographic gems are ‘Shrusti O Pralay’, ‘Sravana Kumar’, ‘Kharavela’ , ‘Jatra Baramasi’, ‘Gatha Odishi’, ‘Swargadapi Gariyasi’, ‘Pratinayak’, ‘Krishna Sharanam’, Astapadis from Geeta Govinda and ‘Siddhartha’, based on Hermann Hesse’s novel. Aruna has performed in Houston several times, but her brilliant production of “Gatha Odissi: The Story of Odissi”, presented by Samskriti at the Miller Outdoor Theatre in 2013, is the most unforgettable of them all.

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For her contribution to Indian Performing Arts, Aruna was recently honored with the highest civilian award, “Padma Shri”, by the President of India.

Odissi Academy, a Houston based year old non-profit organization, was established with the mission of bringing quality Odissi education to North America, with Guru Aruna Mohanty as its director. Students will receive additional training in this unique traditional style of Odissi from established visiting gurus from India.

The academy is proud to present the first Konark Festival in Houston, bringing together different forms of Indian Classical Dance on one stage, and the highlight will be Guru Aruna Mohanty’s Odissi performance. The festival will take place on Saturday, May 6, 3:30p.m at the John B. Pershing Middle School, 3838 Bluebonnet Blvd, Houston, TX 77025. ADMISSION IS FREE!!!

Anjali Center for Performing Arts will be presenting a workshop by Aruna Mohanty on Thursday, May 11, 6-8 pm and Friday, May 12, 7-9 pm. For more information email rathnanil@gmail.com.

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