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   About Nirmal Jena: 

 

Born in the village of Utchapur in Orissa, Nirmal Jena is the son of the Late Guru Surendra Nath Jena, who passed away in New Delhi on 8 October 2007. Following intensive training under the guidance of his father in the Jena style of Odissi and in traditional teaching methodologies, Nirmal also pursued comprehensive training from other gurus in a number of related artforms – North Indian vocal, Orissan vocal, Chhau dance, instrumental music (pakhawaj and mridang).

 

Nirmal performed in various cities in India and presented workshops and lecture-demonstration in schools, tertiary institutions, arts and community organizations. In 1984, he commenced co-teaching at Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi, alongside his father, who had been based at Triveni since the 1967. In 1989, in a tour funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, Nirmal presented a series of performances and dance education programs in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

 

Encouraged by the keen interest expressed by dance enthusiasts who wanted to learn this unique dance form, Nirmal returned to Australia in March ‘92. He and Chitrita Mukerjee, his wife and associate director, established the Odissi Dance Company in Sydney, Australia.  They have a son, Vivek, and a daughter, Vanashree, who are both dancing Odissi under their parents’ tutelage.

   

 

Press Reviews:

 

“Nirmal Jena’s performance of Odissi dance was one of those rare delights when a solo performer gives so generously and vividly of his talents that it’s often hard to remember that there is only one person out there. .....This was painting, sculpture - a whole culture - coming to life.”

---Jill Sykes, Sydney Morning Herald

 

“I have never seen any other Indian artist able to capture the essence of Shiva’s dance so vividly. One can only say here that the vision of Shiva dancing became a hauntingly surreal timeless experience with this piece. A lesser artist would not have been able to carry it off. Nirmal became a vehicle for Shiva’s destruction. The intense energy he generated within himself propelled the audience into a dimension of great power, awe and wonderment.”

 

---Chandrabhanu, Kinesis, Newsletter by Ausdance, Victoria

 

“Surendra Nath Jena [Nirmal’s father and teacher] is a genius to have evolved this style. He has planted in good soil and the tree grows healthy and strong - so whatever ‘use’ it may be put in the future, it will never lose its spiritual and traditional roots.”

--- Workshop participant, University of New South Wales

“Nirmal Jena has brought valuable talent and expertise to this State.....”

---Peter Collins, QC Former NSW Minister for the Arts

“Nirmal Jena, an artist of exceptional individual quality...[his father’s] all-round versatility has obviously been passed on to the next generation, giving an intensely theatrical flavour to Nirmal Jena’s performances...”

---Jill Sykes, Sydney Morning Herald

..the dramatic power and vivid imagery of the dance inundated the intimate venue…”

---Pamela Carsaniga, The Melburnian

“Sydney people are obviously hungry for Indian classical dance and music, judging by the overflowing audience on opening night and the extra performance announced beforehand.........Nirmal Jena, an exceptional performer whose body just seems to fall into the shapes and gestures required of it - at the same time, exuding inferences of meaning, character and symbolism....”

---Jill Sykes, Sydney Morning Herald

Nirmal Jena’s commitment to the Jena style of Odissi dance and Orissan music offers Australian audiences and performers the opportunity to experience this distinctive dance tradition that enlightens with its ...spiritual significance.....”

---Robyn Kershaw, General Manager, Belvoir Street Theatre

“The incorporation of dance into life and life into dance, theatrical dimension to dance, family and community emphasis rather than an isolated artform are aspects of Indian dance which should be welcomed to performing arts [in Australia] which is presently caught in an image of an elitist area as being removed from the people rather than for the people.”

--- Second Year Dance Student (BA), University of Western Sydney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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