With intricate rhythmic footwork, lyrical movements, and elaborate costumes, the dancers of the Mayur Dance Company perform classical dances from the ancient Odissi tradition inspired by ancient Sanskrit texts and Hindu temple carvings in India.

Odissi dance, which explores religious stories and ideas emanating from the Indian state of Orissa, was suppressed during British colonial rule but has remerged since India’s independence in popular performances that merge traditional dance, music, and poetry drawn from ancient Sanskrit literature.

The Mayur Dance Company will hold a free performance on May 3 at the Takoma Park Community Center as part of the City of Takoma Park’s Takoma Park Arts series. No tickets or reservations are required, and donations will be accepted. Limited parking is available in the police station parking lot at the Community Center or at Piney Branch Elementary School next door.

“We seek to celebrate cultures from across the world in our Takoma Park Arts events wo we’re proud to host the Mayur Dance Company in their first and only performance in Takoma Park,” said the City’s Arts and Humanities Coordinator Brendan Smith. “We hope this performance will attract a new audience to experience an ancient dance tradition.”

Starting as young as 4 years old, students in Mayur’s classes progress in their training with the most talented students joining the professional dance company. Founded in 2008 in Potomac, the group has performed at the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, the Smithsonian, the International Odissi Festival in India, and many other venues. You can learn more at mayurdance.org.

In their performance in Takoma Park, the dancers will share both classical and contemporary Odissi dances with protracted hand gestures, distinctive postures, and nuanced torso movements. The dancers depict and embody the physical and spiritual attributes of various Hindu deities and tell stories about them from South Asian folklore and Hindu mythology, said Mishka Mukherji, Mayur’s assistant artistic director and a company dancer.

“We find the Odissi vocabulary is so rich and expressive that this dance form invites us to explore and expand the visual and narrative possibilities with more varied points of view,” Mukherji said.

The company’s elaborate costumes are designed by Mayur’s founder and artistic director Sukanya Mukherji, and they are tailored by small, specialized darzi tailor shops in India.

You can learn more about the City’s Takoma Park Arts series and get info about all of our upcoming events by signing up for our e-newsletter here.

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