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This Is My Second Time Watching An Odissi Performance & I Was Captivated [Review]

This Is My Second Time Watching An Odissi Performance & I Was Captivated [Review]

Jaya Ram is an Odissi performance happening at KLPAC this weekend that features the dancers presenting a compelling love-story with their spellbinding dance movements.

Melissa Suraya Ismail

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As a person who was not really familiar with the word Odissi before, my first time seeing the performance was indeed mesmerizing.

Sure, I didn’t really understand what went on in the performance but the intricate movements of the dancers took my breath away.

READ MORE: There’s a Mesmerizing Odissi Performance In KL This Weekend!

My first live Odissi performance was called Dancer’s At Large, held by Sutra Foundation, a Malaysian not-for-profit organization chaired by the maestro himself, Datuk Ramli Ibrahim.

(Credit: Melissa Suraya Ismail / TRP)

The performers were young dancers too, not the years of experienced dancers. That show was like an official debut of them turning into professional Sutra Foundation dancers. And it was amazing.

If Dancers At Large took my breath away, Jaya Ram made me speechless

With a little background on what Odissi is and the myth of Ramayana, my second time seeing an Odissi performance left me speechless as I was so into the story and again, hypnotized by the dance moves. Their intricate hand movements, their synchronized group choreography, their facial expressions and their energetic but gentle dramatic movements are all done in a smooth and organized fashion.

(Credit: Melissa Suraya Ismail / TRP)

Fun Fact: Odissi, also known as Orissa, is one of the 8 classical dances in India which includes Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Sattriya, Manipuri and Mohiniyattam.

This year’s biggest production yet, by the Sutra Foundation, is called Jaya Ram which tells the tale of Rama, the hero of the folktale Ramayana, falling in love with a woman named Sita and battling the devil in many forms, Ravana, who also aims to bewed Sita. There are other characters along the way that helped the two star-crossed lovers reunite.

Ravana and his many heads.
(Credit: Melissa Suraya Ismail / TRP)

For an 80-minute performance with a 15-minute interval, they have two acts for one show. Before the act starts, they’ll give a bit of a background on what the show is about and what we can expect in English.

In all honesty, even if I read a bit on the summary of Ramayana, I still couldn’t place some details together like who is who or what is happening. But at least with context, I understood the story better.

Rama and Sita.
(Credit: Jaya Ram / Sutra Foundation, Melissa Suraya Ismail / TRP)

I thought I was just going to see dancing but there were funny bits too in there, sort of like a pantomime. You’ll get to see various action-packed wars, a bit of delicate romance, amusing royalty sketches, and various portrayals of animals.

The dance is accompanied by classical music from a set of beautifully talented and brilliant musicians and singers from Odisha (birthplace of Odissi), India itself.

(Credit: Jaya Ram / Sutra Foundation)

Jaya Ram was commissioned to Guru Gajendra Kumar Panda, one of Odisha’s brilliant dance-makers and a collaborator of Sutra for the past four decades. Under the direction of both Guru Gajendra Panda and Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, Jaya Ram is a performance that combines both contemporary and classical elements of folklore and Odissi.

If you’re a patron of arts, you definitely need to see it

“The much-anticipated Jaya Ram is also a befitting celebration of Malaysia and India’s 65 years of diplomatic relationship.

After its premiere in Malaysia, the dance show will be brought on tour to India and Singapore as well.

This is a love letter from Sutra to the healing world, and truly a dance extravaganza not to be missed by art enthusiasts and the Malaysian public in general”.

Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, Sutra Foundation Chairman.

My suggestion for those who wanna see the show and are not familiar with the Ramayana tale, do read a bit on the story’s summary just to get a picture of what’s going on. Then you’ll be able to figure out which one is Rama, Ravana, Sita and all the other amazing characters that bring the show to life. You can also check out their Facebook and Instagram for some teaser videos of the show.


(Credit: Melissa Suraya Ismail / TRP, Jaya Ram / Sutra Foundation))

You can also read all about the show in their Jaya Ram booklet, priced at only RM10 at the entrance of the show.

Although fairly limited (this is a highly anticipated show), tickets to Jaya Ram are still available here.

Jaya Ram (Odissi) – A Homage to Rama, Hero of The Ramayana with live music from Odisha

Dates: 21 – 25 September 2022 (Dates available for the public – 22, 24, 25 September)

Time: 8.30 pm

Venue: Pentas 1, Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC), Jln Sultan Azlan Shah, Sentul, 51100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

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