New York’s only resident classical Indian Odissi company, this ensemble of eight women—two of them African American, the rest of South Asian descent—is a glowing addition to the city’s mix. Its repertory “privileges the often neglected voices of women protagonists,” and the show makes its points in crisp and fluid dancing. Three of four works derive from traditional Odissi style, re-choreographed by Myna Mukherjee. The fourth, Faces of a Name, explores the psyche of Chitrangada, a warrior princess torn between conflicting desires. The music and movement combine classical and contemporary tropes (there’s a beatbox in there somewhere, and Mukherjee’s movement includes cartwheels, yoga, arabesques, and modern dance). Neha Anada, Zidana Bell, Aditi Dhruv, and Crystal Davis create a believable bridge between a 2,200-year-old dance form and today’s superheroines.
I missed live music, but this is a transporting evening even for novice viewers. So lush and sultry is the dancing, so intense the focus, so tropical the ambience as the women undulate beneath a projected moon, that I was startled, emerging from the basement theater, to find it was still winter.