Multimedia: 'Dancing the Divinity,' Featuring Anwesa Mahanta

HONG KONG, July 16, 2013 — Anwesa Mahanta performed the Indian traditional dance form Sattriya during a free one-hour lunchtime program, "Dancing the Divinity," that mesmerized a full house at Asia Society Hong Kong Center. Sattriya is one of the eight principal classical Indian dance traditions. Mahanta performed two Sattriya dance pieces, portraying both the male and female roles; each piece was based on an ancient tale.

In addition to screening a short documentary that detailed the evolution of Sattriya, Mahanta also took questions from the audience on the traditional art form that she has been learning, researching, and interpreting for almost 20 years. A member of the audience applauded her vivid eye movements, facial expressions and hand gestures. Mahanta responded that Sattriya dance, like other forms of traditional Indian theatrical art, incorporates the performer's natural response to the story, adding his or her own imaginative power to the interpretation. She said, "even of the same piece of traditional dance, different dancers can come up with different interpretations."

Reported by Wendy Tang and Angel Guo

Video: Excerpt from Manhata's performance (in a male role) (10 min., 9 sec.)