Local Philadelphia Dancer Spreads Awareness of Ancient Art

The Center for World Music will present Saṃsāra – The Cycle of Life, an Odissi dance production by Shibani Patnaik, on May 20th at 5:30pm at the Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street in Philadelphia

Shibani is touring 15 cities across the US with a music ensemble from India.  This is the very first time a US-based Odissi dancer has toured as a soloist across North America. When asked what led her to take on this challenge, Shibani said, “My goal is to spread Indian classical dance and help preserve and propagate this rich cultural tradition. I am dedicated to share my art with others to keep this two-thousand year old dance form alive outside of India.” Shibani’s tour opens in San Diego, where sitar maestro Ravi Shankar will personally launch the tour

In Saṃsāra, Shibani presents a classical art form in a unique way that it is meaningful and understandable to viewers. Through the creative use of multimedia, movement and enchanting, rhythmic music, she takes the audience on a journey to ancient India. Saṃsāra is the soul’s experience through the cycle of birth, death and reincarnation. Shibani explores the concept of Saṃsāra and themes related to the flow of life in her presentation. While Shibani is deeply rooted in tradition, she provides a unique perspective in her individualistic style by creatively juxtaposing powerful expression with intricate footwork.

Shibani is born and raised in the US, but has spent much of her time in India, directly learning from gurus of this ancient art form. “I am very excited to present Saṃsāra in my hometown of Philadelphia. Odissi requires perseverance, precision and performance; it is simply not a form of entertainment but a powerful method by which the artist strives to reach the soul of the perceiver through the divine energy of dance. Art transcends all barriers and through my dance, I express feelings and emotions which are universal to humanity. I am delighted to showcase this production to art lovers in my city.”

Shibani and her sisters (known as the “Patnaik Sisters”) hit headlines in 1998 when they performed with Madonna at the MTV Music Awards in Hollywood. This was a monumental event for the Indian dance community where a classical dance was showcased along with mainstream pop culture to millions of viewers worldwide. For more information on Shibani, please visit:

Samsara – The Cycle of Life
May 20th at 5:30 pm
Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street, Philadelphia
Tickets:  $13 in advance, $17 – cash at door
Available through

In Saṃsāra, Shibani will be accompanied by:
Rupak Kumar Parida – Vocal
Bijaya  Kumar Barik – Mardala
Ramesh Chandra Das – Violin
Jabahar Mishra – Flute
Jaydev Das – Lights

This national tour is supported by the Center for World Music.

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