Nrityanjali: A Unique Offering of Indian Classical Dances (Shree Jagannath Rath Yatra – 2016)



HOUSTON: Orissa Culture Center (OCC) in collaboration with Sri Sitaram Foundation is all set for celebrating the ninth chariot festival in Houston on July 9, at the India House, 8888 W Bellfort Blvd., Houston, TX 77031.

Dance as an art form has been an integral part of temple worships and rituals in India for thousands of years. Nowhere is it more pronounced than the temple of Lord Jagannath in Puri, Orissa. The Mahari dance tradition in Puri temple dates back to over a thousand year. The Maharis or the temple dancers were also called the “Devadasis” or the servants of the Lord Jagannath. The classical dance form of Odissi finds its root in this Devadasi tradition. Similar is the case with many other classical dance forms from other parts of India. One of the main objectives of OCC is to promote the classical dance and music from India. OCC has been presenting eminent artists of dance and music from here in Houston and India for last eight years during the annual Chariot Festival.

This year OCC is proud to present “Nrityanjali”, an offering of Indian classical dances, presented by dance schools in Odisha and Houston. The classical dances include Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak and Odissi from different schools in Houston. Most notable among these presentations are the two Odissi dance troupes from Odisha called “Adruta” and “Ananta”. “Adruta” is a unit of the RAWA (Art for Service and Blessedness) and has the sole objective of nurturing deserted and deprived children to gain excellence in the art of dance.

Prominent among the dance schools participating are the Anjali School of dance (Founding Director Dr. Rathna Kumar), Natya Upasana Dance Academy (Founding Director Uma Nagarseth), Abhinaya School of Performing Arts (Founding Director Indrani Parthasarathy) and Kalangan School of Dance (Founding Director Supradipta Dutta). The dance presentations include Kathak, Bharat Natyam, Odissi and Dhunuchi Naach from Bengal. The program details of the afternoon and evening hours are outlined below.

1.    4:00 pm – 6:00 pm : Odissi Dance Presentations by Adruta and Ananta, two eminent dance schools from Odisha, India
2.    6:00 pm – 8:00 pm : Chariot Pulling and Samuhika Maha Arati of Lord Jagannath
3.    8:00 pm – 9:30 pm : Nrityanjali, presentation of Indian classical dances by various dance schools of Houston followed by free dinner for all assembled devotees.

Indian traditional belief system surrounding fine arts such as classical dance and music is based on the foundation of devotion through rigorous practice towards perfecting ones’ own skills. The presentation of such fine arts after years of practice or “Sadhana” is synonymous to pleasing one’s own God. Please join the festival of Rath Yatra – 2016 and experience the mastery of skills presented by the artists of specific art forms.

Celebration of this festival is possible by generous support and sponsorship of participating organizations and individuals. For sponsorship and other details please visit The event is partially funded by a grant from Houston City Arts Alliance. Please stay tuned for further details to be published soon.

For information, please visit or call 832-225-2376 or e-mail at You may connect on