Editor’s Note

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Welcome Dear Readers, to the Winter 2016 issue of Global Rasika, the online initiative launched in 2014 to foster critical thinking and dialogue across the Odissi community worldwide.

This issue of Global Rasika, “Beyond the Stage,” focuses on seemingly unrelated initiatives taking place to explore different facets of Odissi. More and more Odissi practitioners are challenging the status-quo across different dimensions, further enriching the art form in the process. Our contributors discuss in detail the specific initiatives that they have been pursuing: from re-thinking Odissi pedagogy, to developing multimedia resources, creating multi-dimensional organizations – all of which expand our engagement, understanding and accessibility to the art form.

We are also very fortunate to feature in this issue Dr. Rekha Tandon, who seamlessly transitions between her roles of dancer, researcher, writer, and choreographer. Dr. Tandon shares with us her own journey as an artist and scholar, and the urge for creative expression, which compelled her to redefine Odissi and expand its frontiers – resulting in an extensive body of work, informed by years of research and analysis and which offers a fresh perspective of the art.

We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to our writers: Dr. Rohini Dandavate, Dr. Elena Catalano, Nisha Somasundaram and Patricia Salgado – not only for contributing to this issue, but for the work they doing to enrich the experience of Odissi for the broader community. We would also like to extend our special thanks to Bhubaneswar-based photographer Debiprasad Sahoo for generously contributing his images and for helping communicate our vision more effectively.

As always, we request that you continue to read, share and discuss these issues to further enhance Global Rasika’s rasikas globally. In our quest to bring alternate voices which may otherwise get muffled in the Odissi ecosystem, (in the absence of an institutionalized platform), we encourage your contribution to Global Rasika. Please write to us if you have an idea or perspective that you would like to explore further and share with our readers.

Our sincerest gratitude to our readers around the world for actively supporting our efforts to create a vibrant and engaging Odissi community!

Sonali Mishra
Editor, Global Rasika
February 2016


Rekha Tandon on Odissi: New Metaphors, New Meanings

Photo Courtesy: Robyn Beeche

Photo Courtesy: Robyn Beech

Dr. Rekha Tandon has successfully carved her own path as a dancer, writer, researcher, and choreographer. Having undergone years of rigorous training in Odissi, her desire to find her individual voice as an artist led her to delve deeper into the study of dance and movement. She was awarded of the Charles Wallace Arts Fellowship (UK), and a UNESCO Artists’ Bursary Award for further studies at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, where she was awarded her PhD in 2005. Her thesis focused on examining Odissi from the perspective of Choreological Studies. Dr. Tandon, along with her partner, Michael Weston, founded their company Danceroutes in 1997, under which they collaborated on a number of groundbreaking projects and initiatives including (but not limited to) the Danceroutes Repertory Group, KAI (Knowledge-Arts-Initiatives) Trust, and the book Odissi: A Dance in Sculpture, which was published in 2011. They have also conducted extensive research in related aspects of Odissi dance. Dr. Tandon currently resides in Pondicherry, where she has recently completed a manuscript called “Petals of the Lotus-Background, Technique and Embodiment of Odissi Dance,” which is expected to be published this year. Dr. Tandon shares with us her journey as a creative artist, as well as her insights on Odissi.

[Read more…]

Developing a New Pedagogy for Odissi: the British Scenario

by Elena Catalano

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Would it be overtly optimistic to claim that Odissi is entering an unprecedented Golden Age of development throughout the globe? Perhaps not. However, it would be ingenuous to believe that the internationalisation of the form will leave its aesthetics, modes of transmission and performance untouched, ‘traditional’, as some would say, albeit of a fictional and constructed kind of tradition as scholars would answer back, citing Hobsbawm and Ranger (1983).[1] [Read more…]

Learning Tools in Odissi Dance Education

by Dr. Rohini Dandavate

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Rapidly advancing communication technologies and media formats have opened new avenues for teaching, learning and presenting dance. In traditional performing arts in India, Guru Shisya Parampara was the primary way of learning and teaching. However, increasing access to digital media has lead to emergence of hyperlearning, or education made possible by computer technology and hypermedia. Dance teachers and students use social media for marketing, and online tools for teaching and learning. Performers have also integrated digital media in dance presentations. This emerging trend is permeating all aspects of dance education and dance production. [Read more…]

Finding Lila: Tales of Odissi in the 21st Century

by Nisha Somasundaram 

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Not long ago I attended a seminar on the subject of astronomy and physics written in verse at the university I currently attend. The presenter spoke of how mathematicians of a bygone era in India aspired to write about physics in poetic form in a way that was as beautiful and sophisticated as the subject matter itself. In many ways, this is an idea that underpinned the creation of Finding Lila, a multi-media initiative and website dedicated to exploring Odissi from the viewpoint of UK-based practitioners: [Read more…]

Güngur’s Journey: Solace to the Soul

by Patricia Salgado

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Mishra

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

My name is Patricia Salgado, I am an Argentinean born in the United States but settled in Barcelona, Spain for the last 14 years. I have been working as a fashion designer, designing clothes for different brands for over 15 years. Since early childhood, I have always been attracted to art, painting, and sculpture. I was also very interested in various disciplines rooted in Eastern cultures, thanks to the deep influence of my mother. I chose a career in design because it allowed me to express my creativity. But deep inside my soul, perhaps subconsciously, I was hoping to find my true vocation elsewhere. [Read more…]

Beyond the Stage: Contributors February 2016 

Elena Catalano is a dancer, teacher and scholar presently based in London. From 2010 to 2012, she received an ICCR scholarship to study Odissi in Delhi from 2010 to 2012. She also received the Milan Fellowship for further training at Srjan from 2012 to 2014,  and several bursaries to attend DanceIndia Summer School in Liverpool. Elena completed her PhD at Durham University, UK, with a project on Odissi, in which she investigated the interplay of somatic experiences, cultural values and politics of identity in Odissi training and performance. She now works as Dance Lecturer at Kingston University of London, where she teaches Dance Anthropology and Odissi technique. As a dancer, Elena is interested in promoting Odissi at a professional level and working collaboratively with other artists. For more information about Elena, please visit www.elenaodissi.com. Elena can be reached at  elenaodissi@gmail.com

Rohini Doshi-Dandavate holds a doctoral degree in Cultural Policy and Arts Administration from the Ohio State University. As an artist in the Arts Learning Program of the Ohio Arts Council, she has conducted workshops and lecture demonstrations in Odissi dance in educational institutions in Ohio since 1994. As a Visiting Faculty in Denison University in 2001 she has offered courses in Odissi Dance. She received a graduate degree in Odissi dance from Kala Vikas Kendra, College of Indian Dance and Music, Cuttack, India. Her papers/articles can be accessed at www.scribd.com/rohinidandavate. She can be reached at dandavate2@gmail.com.

Patricia Salgado is an Odissi dancer and fashion designer. Since 2001 she has been living and working in Barcelona as a designer for Spanish companies specializing in women’s fashion. She also designs her own line, the the Güngur “Sundar Collection,”inspired by Indian classical dance. She co-founded Güngur Indian Fine Arts in 2009 and manages the Barcelona branch, where she conducts regular classes and workshops, organizes  performances/benefits and seminars She has been traveling regularly to India for her dance training since 2007 and has performed performed widely in Spain, Argentina and India. She is a graduate of the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. For more information about Gungur, please visit: www.gungur.com. Patricia can be reached at: p.salgado@gungur.com

Nisha Somasundaram is currently a postgraduate student of Modern South Asian history and Sanskrit at the University of Oxford. She has a research interest in gender and iconography from the early modern period. Previously a corporate solicitor, she co-founded Finding Lila, an online magazine and initiative in Odissi in 2014: www.findinglila.com. She can be contacted at nisha@findinglila.com.