About Notinee Indian Dance

The birth of a new dance …
Pia Sen, Director Indian classical-folk-fusion dance began some 70-80 years ago in India as a synthesis of Indian classical and Indian folk dances. This fusion style is adaptable to different types of music, different themes and different moods. Moreover, this style is more easily learned than traditional Indian classical dances, any of which require at least seven years to master! Indian fusion also provides for wider individual creativity, spontaneity and experimentation than classical dances permit.

Pia Sen becomes a devotee …
Bisakha “Pia” Sen was born in 1969 in India and grew up in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). She began training in classical Manipuri dance under Guru Debjani Chaliha when she was just five years old. For the next eight years, she trained and performed exclusively in the Manipuri style. Afterward, she became attracted to the classical-folk-fusion style and selected Odissi to be the other classical dance style to fuse with Manipuri. Odissi is a beautiful and sensuous dance that makes extensive use of dance poses found in temple carvings and sculptures across India, and it synthesizes beautifully with Manipuri.

In the course of her studies, Pia had the good fortune to train with some of the leading maestros of classical-folk-fusion dance in Kolkata, including Shanti Bose, Jayasri Lahiri and Shubhasish Bhattacharya. She also found she had a knack for composing and choreographing original dance pieces. Over the next years, she performed numerous times on stage and television, often presenting pieces that she had choreographed herself. She also danced in lead roles in productions of many “dance dramas,” including some famous ones written by Rabindranath Tagore.

In 1992, Pia moved to the United States to pursue her Ph.D. in economics. During the years since, she has remained active in dance, giving frequent solo performances and composing, teaching and directing large group performances, including three of Tagore’s dance dramas. Pia and her students have performed in New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, Columbus and other major U.S. cities.

A fresh art comes to Birmingham …
In 2002, Pia accepted a position with the faculty of the School of Public Health at the world-reknowned University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Continuing to perform an choreograph regularly, Pia founded the Notinee Dance Group. Pronouned “no – TEE – nee,” it is a Bengali word that means “woman dancer.” Pia and Notinee perform regularly in Birmingham and other cities, and Pia teaches at various Birmingham dance studios and in her new home studio.

Pia also continues her own dance studies. In 2006 on a trip to India, she had the opportunity to study with the renowned danseuse, Alokanda Roy, and expand and refine her repertoire of Odissi dance.