REVIEWS OF DR. SOHINI RAY
MANDALBADDHA NARTAN, dancer Sohini Ray gave an expressive account of Manipuri Dance, a temple dance idiom translated here for the stage. Ample lighting gave us a chance to see the detailed use of feet, hand gestures, eyes and head direction in a classic and beautifully costumed version of the style....
Steven Woodruff in danceplug.com
A contemporary form of South Asian dance was presented by Sohini Ray who guest choreographed the performance at UTSAV (‘Beauty’ production’s segment) for self and Rachana Narayanan in Cambridge, UK between Jan 20th to 24th, 2009. More a workshop than a simple recital, Sohini’s collaboration with the CUCDW helped her connect with an eclectic crowd of Asian dance lovers at the Cambridge University’s ADC theatre on Park Street. ………
January 2009 Curveasia.com
On Wednesday October 22, 2008 Sohini Ray danced for the children and staff at Millington road Nursery School. It was a wonderful experience for all of us and very spiritual. The children were mesmerized....Thank you, Sohini, for introducing us to this form of dancing...
Mary Field, Principal, Millington road Nursery School, Cambridge, UK.
“...Basing her production on the 12th-century Gita Govinda, dancer Sohini Ray created stunning visuals not only by showcasing rarely seen Manipuri dance drama but also through colorful, museum-quality costumes, exact replicas of those worn by temple deities.”
Laurel Fishman in grammy.com, October 2008
Dr. Sohini Ray's interview was broadcasted on Classical KUSC.org, the largest non-profit classical music station in the country and Southern California’s heritage classical radio station.
Listen to Dr. Ray's interview >>
Classical KUSC.org, fm 91.5, September 20, 2008
Manipuri Dance and Culture - A World Heritage
Interview with Dr Sohini Ray as narrated to Sreeparna Lahiri >>
The Medha Journal, August 2008
"..........Ray founded Manipuri Dance Visions in Los Angeles in 2005. The troupe is one of only two in North America devoted to the Manipuri style. Ray is a dancer, dance scholar and cultural anthropologist. She brings both physical and intellectual devotion to her presentations of Manipuri dance. "One of the major educational experiences for me was dancing in the temple as a devotee," Ray said. "The nightlong temple theaters are ritual events. The participants are mainly devotees who have no dance training. Then you really understand the spirit of the performance, which is to dance with the deities." Ray learned the style and movements of Manipuri dance beginning at age 7 at the school of Guru Bipin Singh in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta). Guru Bipin Singh was an important teacher who increased wide appreciation of Manipuri dance. Manipuri dance has been described as graceful and lyrical. "The essence of the dance is very contained," Ray said. "There is no exaggeration of movements or facial expression. That is to retain the devotional aspect of it." In 1979, Ray joined the company led by the Jhaveri Sisters, famous performers and teachers of the Manipuri style. She has performed across India and North America. Ray received a master's degree in dance at UCLA in 1995 and her doctorate in anthropology in 2000. She actively researches and teaches Manipuri and other dance styles. Ray said the four dances she and her troupe will perform are short, choreographed versions of Manipuri festival dances. Each retains the movements -- and the essence -- of the originals. "To translate and condense a nightlong temple ritual to a 20-minute presentation is not easy," Ray said. "The challenge for us as performers is to retain the devotional spirit when you are on stage."
Interview of Sohini Ray in Wichita Eagle by Chris Shull, April 25, 2008.
"The gestural delicacy and vivacity of the interplay sometimes yielded to moments of virtuosity: a circuit of turns on her knees
by Ray as Krishna, for example. More often, the graceful spinning of the gopis and the deft sorties of Krishna made the piece a
sublime flirtation game. Krishna’s wooing of Radha (Krishnakali Dasgupta) gave the piece a dramatic context also underpinning the
charming solo “Sakshat Darshan” in which Ray described with her hands, facial expressions and rhythmic footwork Radha’s first date
Los Angeles Times, October 29, 2007
"…Manipuri experts Sohini Ray and Sanjib Bhattacharya contributed a wonderful drumming technique, knee spins and turning jumps
during their segments…."
Pittsburg Post October 9, 2007
"Your performance was mesmerizing……."
Dillian Kim, Department of Theater, University of California, Irvine.
Cast as Radha in “Anangakshep,” Ray highlighted the art’s emotional complexities, her pleading hands propelling her body through
intense outbursts of turns in alternating directions that made her seem trapped by her feelings, dancing in circles……
Lewis Segal in Los Angeles Times.
"Watching your dance piece was a very spiritual and incredible moment in my life. It allowed us to travel to another place and time
and expanded my ever growing view of art. I was forever changed by the beauty and grace……."
Stephanie (Undergraduate student, Theater major) Department of Theater, University of California, Irvine.
"Sohini Ray’s rendering of abhinaya was one of the highlights of the festival ……."
Huen Lanpao, Imphal, Manipur, India.(translated from Meitei language)
"…Sohini Ray matched refined technique with great delicacy in Guru Bipin Singh’s traditional Manipuri “Krishna Nartan” solo from
Lewis Segal in Los Angeles Times.
"Sohini is charmingly supple and elegant. Eloquent in fact is the more correct word. Her classical purity of line is never made to
appear cold, for the simple reason that they are not consciously pure, but naturally so. It is because she pays le4ss attention to
the rigidity of classicism than to its beauty that she is capable of fluent emotional expression which after all is the whole object
of art…… ."
Arany Bannerjee, The Economic Times, Kolkata.
"In Manipuri, Sohini Ray gave an excellent exposition of Nani chori which had the stamp of Guru Bipin Singh’s impressive
The Statesman, Kolkata.
“To watch the little girl Sohini Ray play the standard size mridang, and her tiny body sway in dance movements in the rhythm of
the percussion was a totally astonishing experience …….”(translated from Bengali language)
Anandabazar Patrika., Kolkata.