Redefining Odissi in a Global Context: Contributors July 2014

Elena Catalano is an Odissi dancer, researcher and lecturer currently based in the UK. She has recently completed a fully funded PhD in Dance Anthropology at Durham University with a project on somatic experience in Odissi. Elena holds also a BA and MA in Cultural Anthropology (Università La Sapienza, Italy), a Master in Dance (University of Surrey, UK) and in Cultural Management (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Spain). She has received several scholarships and bursaries  to carry out her studies, dance training and fieldwork abroad. Elena has done research in India (New Delhi and Orissa), Africa (Ghana) and Europe (Spain and Italy), publishing and receiving accolades for her dance writing, including the ‘Premlata Sharma Award 2012’, the ‘Pauline Hodgens Award 2010’ and the ‘Paola Bianchi Award 2009’. She can be reached at

Aastha Gandhi is an independent performance researcher and a dancer, following Guru Surendranath Jena style of Odissi. She researched on Odissi dance, its historiography, practice and problems within the established parampara, as part of her M. Phil dissertation (2006- 2008), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her subsequent work has been published in Conference Proceedings of WDA- Global Summit, “Dance Dialogues: conversations across cultures, artforms and practices” Brisbane (2009) and WDA’s Journal of Emerging Dance Scholars (2013). She is also an active member of World Dance Alliance and has tparticipated in its various festivals in different capacities; master class trainer, paper presentation and performance at its various festivals in Hong Kong (2006), Australia (2008) and France (2014). She also performed in Japan as a part of a month- long cultural exchange programme (2008).Her current area of research engages with city space and its evolving metaphors of performance, at scholarly as well as performance level. She can be reached at

Nabanita (Neeta) Pal is an Odissi dancer. Originally from the Washington DC area, she is now based in Oakland, California. From 2009-2010, she was a U.S. Fulbright Scholar at the Orissa Dance Academy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and is currently finishing up a law degree at University of California, Berkeley. Neeta plans to practice public interest law and support movements for social justice in the United States. She is interested in exploring and developing nuanced storytelling techniques that bridge her passion for dance and advocacy. She can be reached at

Debiprasad Sahoo is budding photographer based in Bhubaneswar with a passion for Odissi dance. He is also a web application developer and entrepreneur by profession. His photography page can also be found Facebook: He can be reached at

Taissia Shpulnikova is a professional odissi dancer and based in Moscow, Russia. She has received education in several kinds of art including painting and classical music and has studied history and archives at Russian State University for the Humanities. Taissia runs a dance school in Moscow and devotes most of her time to spreading odissi dance in Russia. Her current areas of interest include extensive dance research and collaboration with practitioners of other dance styles. She can be reached at

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