We are thrilled to present our fourth issue of Global Rasika, the online quarterly launched in 2014 to create a virtual platform for critical thinking, discussion, and debate across the Odissi community worldwide.
The theme for this issue, “Re-examining Pedagogy in Odissi Dance,” explores the changing landscape of pedagogy in Odissi. Technology, rising opportunity costs of pursuing a career in dance, and increasing aspiration/emancipation of dancers have altered the milieu in which this art is practiced. As a result, the skills required for Odissi practitioners to flourish today are substantively different from the skills required a decade earlier.
While the age of technology and rapidly changing social dynamics have expanded the possibilities for teaching and learning Odissi, the interplay of the predominantly performance-oriented mindset, the need of instant gratification, and the commodification of the dance form [‘buying’ and ‘selling’ items], have collectively translated into an empty, rote experience for the dancer, one that is void of any creative fulfillment. Students are often left feeling bereft not only of the intellectual breadth to contribute anything substantive to the enhancement of the art form, but also the practical skills to build their careers.
In this context, pedagogy is critical to consider when examining the future and longevity of Odissi. To ask vital questions of evolving a tradition and what are the elements required to do so. It is also important to ask whether the skills emphasized and imparted by dance schools and teachers reflect the changed skill sets required today.
In this issue our writers explore various dimensions of Odissi’s pedagogy: dance education in India, the Guru-Shishya Parampara tradition of learning, tensions between technology and teacher-based learning, and one’s personal experience in a holistic training process. We are elated to feature world-renowned dancer Bijayini Satpathy, who shares with us some of the pioneering work in dance education that Nrityagram has undertaken.
We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to our contributors for this issue: Aastha Gandhi, Aadya Kaktikar, Shashwati Garaighosh, and Shreelina Ghosh – Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm on this topic, and for so generously sharing your expertise to make this issue a success. A very special thanks to Debiprasad Sahoo for contributing his images and for his continued support.
We would also like to once more thank you for being such loyal readers and supporters of Global Rasika. Please continue to read, share, and discuss the issues we bring forth, to build a dynamic, aware, and intellectually engaging Odissi community worldwide.
Editor, Global Rasika