Pia Sen, Artistic Director
Bisakha “Pia” Sen is the founder and director of Notinee Indian Dance Group, currently the largest Indian classical-folk fusion dance group in Alabama. Indian fusion dance is a synthesis of two or more classical and folk dance styles from different regions of India. This dance-form was originally conceptualized in the 1920s by Asia’s first Nobel Laureate, the poet and educator Rabindranath Tagore, and has grown rapidly in popularity since then.
Pia was born in 1969 in India and grew up in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). She trained for eight years (starting at age 5) in ‘Manipuri’, the classical Indian dance from eastern India, under Guru Debjani Chaliha. Thereafter, moved to Indian fusion dance, and was fortunate enough to train with some of the leading maestros of that dance style, like Shanti Bose and Shubhasish Bhattacharya. Pia selected the beautiful and sensuous classical dance ‘Odissi’ to be the other primary component of her fusion style. Pia also developed a love for composing and choreographing her own dance pieces to a variety of different music. She gave numerous solo performances on stage and on television while in India, and often presented pieces that she had choreographed herself.
In 2002, Pia accepted a faculty position of the School of Public Health, UAB. In 2006, she founded the Notinee Indian Dance Group. Notinee (proniunced ‘Note-i-nee’) is a Bengali word that means “woman dancer”. The group includes dancers from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, including India, USA, China, Italy and Latin America. The mission of Notinee is to take this unique Indian dance form to a wide range of audiences, and to welcome people of all backgrounds to participate in it. Notinee’s dance repertoire ranges from choreographies with traditional Indian music to choreographies to popular Bollywood songs, and even Western music. Notinee has been featured on the Fox 6 Channel in Alabama, has performed numerous times at the AL Dance Festival, at the Magic City Imagination Festival, has been part of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by Shakespeare at Sloss, has performed at numerous International, Indian and Asian cultural events around Alabama, and has done guest performances at major events in Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Tennessee.