Exploring human body’s chakras through dance

Trio of male dancers, led by Melbourne-based artist Dr Sam Goraya,
offers veritable treat.

By Preeti Jabbal

Replete with style, substance and soul, the recently held Mystery of Chakras performance worked its full range of enchantments on its Melbourne audience.

The trio of male dancers, led by Melbourne-based artist Dr Sam Goraya, offered a veritable treat for all senses with their Odissi repertoire.

The production was a creative exploration of the highly complex internal subtle non-physical functions of a human body using the six-chakra system of Tantrism.

Chakras are focal points for meditation within the human body where human beings experience emotional and/or spiritual energy.

The main purpose of any chakra system is the installation of mantras and deity energies at specific points of the body.

Mystery of Chakras was entirely attuned to aesthetics, lovingly presented, without disturbing the character of the original dance form much.

Photo: Ravinder Singh Jabbal

The program comprised of Ksahdadhar Mangalacharan (exploration of nadis and prana), Pallavi, Panchaksra Stotra, (exploration of lower five chakras) Ardhanarishwara Stotra(exploration of sixth chakra) and Mahakali Stuti (exploration of mental modifications and the rising of the kundalini piercing the lower six chakras).

Dr Sam Goraya, the producer of the show, has spent decades in refining his art and perfecting his technique in the Odissi style of classical Indian dance.
His commitment to his art was visible in the meticulous planning and execution of this production.

His partner Zlatko Varenina, an acclaimed creative designer, was responsible for all the tastefully creative visuals that supported the event.

“Through this collaboration between Australian and Indian artists, we wanted to share the central tenets of Indian life presented through centuries-old Tantric traditions and ancient Odissi dance,” said Sam, describing the intent behind his content.

A disciple of Padmashree Madhavi Moudgil, Sam started dancing at a very young age. Post migration to Australia, in 1992, he danced with the Chandrabhanu Bharatam Dance Company and also trained under Monica Singh at Dance House Carlton.


Photo: Ravinder Singh Jabbal

In between his pursuit for excellence in his art he also completed four masters’ degrees and a PhD in Mathematics and Oceanography.

Most recently, Sam worked closely with Guru Bichitrananda Swain from Rudrakshya Odissi Foundation where he met Kamal Kumar and Samir Panigrahi.

The two gifted artists from Odisha accompanied Sam in weaving pure magic on stage with their mastery over chakras.

Samir Panigrahi is one of the most sought-after emerging talents in Odisha. Armed with a Visharad in music, his strength lies in his detailed methodical teaching approach and innovative Odissi choreography.

Kamal has won many scholarships to pursue his dream to be an Odissi exponent and makes the most difficult Odissi movements look effortless. Holding a masters’ degree in music, he is currently pursuing an MPhil degree in Odissi dance.

They have performed at various prestigious festivals such as Konark Dance Festival, Khajuraho Dance Festival and Odissi International Dance Festival.

Samir and Kamal introduced a sense of excitement as they danced in perfect synchronisation or changed their bearings and intensity of movements to suit the segment.

With great timing and endless stamina, they danced in unison with Sam or complemented him by blending their individual strengths on stage.

Sam who has gained guidance in Navarasa (the nine emotions) illustrated extraordinary proficiency in his expressions. He expertly held and directed the conversation of the dance.

The three dancers deftly captured the feminine sensuality and masculine virility of Odissi through a seamless performance.

Together they built the pace and colour of the dance and held the audience captive.

The Southbank Theatre’s Lawler section presented the right ambience for their well-defined performance. The commentary that introduced each section was rather lengthy but informative

Both the shows held in Melbourne ended with a standing ovation from the delighted audience.

“Good on Sam and his team for presenting such amazing shows with important and profound messages. May your spreading of this message and wisdom go far and wide,” commented Elizabeth Celi.

The trio also performed to audiences in Sydney, Adelaide and Auckland in New Zealand. The funds raised through these performances will support the Rudrakshya Foundation’s dancers with basic necessities and support underprivileged children and artists in India.

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The proceeds will also help boost the careers of upcoming talent, providing them a bigger platform and connecting them to the art-loving audience in Australia and New Zealand.

According to Kiran Sekhon Gaillard, “Divinity ascended itself in the Lawler theatre. The three dancers were brilliant and they enthralled the audience.” So impressed she was with the performance that she returned the second day for an encore. 

Manika Jain, the Consul General of India in Melbourne, Arun Sharma the Chairperson of Celebrate India and Jaya Sharma the voice of SBS Hindi Radio Program were the special guests in attendance.

In their brief speeches they echoed similar sentiments praising Sam and his team for showcasing Indian arts and artists in Australia. They praised Sam for fostering collaboration to generate goodwill and for supporting a good cause.

Touched by the beauty, amazed by the skill and enchanted by the style, this show will deservedly linger on in memory.

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