The Elements of a Style

by Dali Basu Choudhury

Feet, Ghungroo and Saree of a Dancer

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Odissi’s growing popularity can be attributed to the increased accessibility as a result of cross cultural exchanges, technology, and media. The initial schools or styles that had emerged during Odissi’s reconstruction process continue to be passed on through their students. Today there are a number of dance institutes in various parts of the world that bear the legacy of these individual schools. However, upon examining Odissi as it is being practiced today, the features that had once earmarked individual styles are rapidly decreasing to the point where one must reconsider whether a formal distinction between schools is necessary.

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Editor’s Note

Dancer doing pranam

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Welcome to our launch issue of Global Rasika! As the world rejoices in the beauty and spirit of dance, we are thrilled to bring to you this quarterly to encourage critical thinking and discourse on Odissi. Besides providing a virtual forum for dancers, writers, and scholars, Global Rasika also aims to explore key issues in the field.

The idea for this issue’s theme, Identity and Odissi Dance, emerged after having participated in many a discussion regarding authenticity, tradition, and innovation. Odissi’s global expansion has redefined the mechanisms of understanding and approaching the dance form, raising many questions about cultural identity in a changing context.

Drawing upon their personal/professional experiences and research, our contributors, all of whom have trained in Odissi in various capacities, have quite compellingly explored this theme. The range of ideas that emerged, from personal explorations of cultural and artistic identity, to that of cultural authenticity in relation to language, to stylistic identities within the form, to the changing role of female dancers in the course of globalization – is a testament to the increasing complexities associated with Odissi’s transition into the global sphere; discourse and scholarship in the field are needed now more than ever. Further enhancing our discussions was Smt. Madhusmita Mohanty, recipient of the 2014 Mahari Award, who very graciously shared her experiences and views on Odissi.

We are eternally grateful to everyone who contributed their time and effort to make this possible. Our writers: Dali Basu, Shilpa Bertuletti, Ranjana Dave, Laurence LeBail, Kaustavi Sarkar and Sanatani Rombola – thank you for seeing this vision and carrying it forward. Debiprasad Sahoo for contributing his images (and time), Rupa Mishra for her continued feedback to get the right ‘look.’ Last but not least, Srijat Mishra, for being the sounding board and support since the inception of this project months ago.

Like many new endeavors, Global Rasika is a work in progress. We hope that you will support our humble efforts to contribute to the continued growth and evolution of Odissi dance. We look forward to hearing from all of you and hope that you will join us on this exciting journey.

Happy reading and welcome to our family.

Sonali Mishra
Editor, Global Rasika
April, 2014

Madhusmita on Odissi: Past, Present & Future

Photo of Dimple Apa

Photo Courtesy: TBA

We are delighted to have had the opportunity to sit down with Smt. Madhusmita Mohanty, recipient of the 2014 Mahari Award by the Guru Pankaj Charan Das Odissi Research Foundation. Nurtured in an artistic environment, Madhusmita was groomed as a soloist under Gurus Sri Gangadhar Pradhan, Smt. Aruna Mohanty, and Sri Bichitrananda Swain. She has performed widely in India and abroad as a soloist and as part of the Orissa Dance Academy Repertory group. For her commitment and excellence in dance, Madhusmita has also been awarded the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar and the Padmashree Sanjukta Panigrahi Pratibha Samman. Having been involved in dance from an early age, Smt. Madhusmita Mohanty shares her thoughts on Odissi, drawing from her personal experience. [Read more…]