Welcome to our third issue of Global Rasika, an online initiative launched earlier this year to foster critical thinking and discourse across the Global Odissi Community.
This issue, “The Road Less Traveled,” examines the career path for those that have decided to pursue dance/Odissi dance as a profession. The path of any professional dancer is not an easy one, even the most successful of artists will attest to having had their fair share of struggles and uncertainties along the way. While professional classical dancers remain a miniscule proportion of society, the number of people taking up dance as a career (or quasi-career) has grown exponentially. In the process, by and large, the scope of options for the dance professional has expanded, and the interface between dancers and society has transformed substantially.
These changes have largely followed the natural currents, and betray the look of an untended garden of wildflowers. The current and most pressing need is not only to widen the horizon of the dancer, but also to establish stronger institutional interventions to support professional dancers. Odissi is further alienated because of its increasingly one-dimensional existence, thus facing a legitimate threat of failing its future generations of dancers by overlooking the scope of available opportunities.
In this issue, our contributors examine the various facets of pursuing classical dance as a profession: The financial difficulties of aspiring dance artists, turning one’s passion into a profession, the effectiveness of planning one’s career, and finally, one’s personal journey to follow her dream. We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to chat with renowned Guru Sri Ratikant Mohapatra, who shared with us from his own experiences.
We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to our contributors for this issue: Manishikha Baul, Ranjana Dave, Rathimalar Govindarajoo, and Srijat Mishra – Thank you for so generously and honestly sharing with us your own insights and personal experiences. Special thanks to Debiprasad Sahoo for providing the images for this issue.
It is our hope that our Global Odissi community will begin to think seriously about these issues and explore ways to improve the current system. Whether you are a student, arts-lover, writer, Guru, scholar, performer, or critic, please consider your role and responsibility for the greater good of Odissi. Only as a collective body can we create a robust ecosystem to support the efforts of dance professionals.
This issue is dedicated to all dancers that have chosen to bravely walk this path with great courage and sacrifice.
Editor, Global Rasika