Editor’s Note

Photo Courtesy: Susil Pani

Photo Courtesy: Susil Pani

Welcome Beloved Readers, to the August 2016 issue of Global Rasika, the online initiative launched in April 2014 to cultivate critical thinking and discourse across the Odissi community worldwide.

This issue, “Mediating Culture,” addresses the issue of the navigating different cultural contexts. The engagement with Odissi on all levels – for performers, teachers, students, and organisers, requires an element of ‘mediation’ in different socio-cultural settings. This process of negotiation varies according to the practitioner, environment, cultural context, etc. In this issue our writers explore the process of ‘mediating culture’ in various perspectives: the transitioning of Odissi pedagogy into an academic setting, to the bridging of Indian and Brazilian cultures through the medium of dance, as well as the experience of mediating “Odissi culture” abroad.

For this issue, we are privileged to interview the internationally acclaimed dancer, scholar, teacher, writer, and 2006 Padmashree Awardee Dr. Ileana Citaristi, whose love for Odissi and Odia culture propelled her to build a life and home for herself in Odisha. Dr. Citaristi shared with us her varied experiences and perspectives on how she navigated her life in two distinct socio-cultural paradigms.

We are also proud to launch our “Artist Initiative” an effort to support talented and dedicated Odissi dancers by providing a virtual platform for them to showcase their talent. We are delighted to feature Bhubaneswar-based Janhabi Behera for the launch of this initiative. Janhabi is a highly skilled and sensitive dancer who has performed extensively throughout India and abroad.

We would like to offer our sincere thanks to our writers for this issue: Dr. Aadya Kaktakar, Silvana Duarte, and Saswat Joshi: Thank you for so generously sharing your extensive knowledge and experience in the field, and for the passion and energy with which you approached the topic. We would also like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Susil Pani, who so generously contributed his images for this issue – thank you for your enthusiasm and support to realize our vision.

Lastly we would like to thank our growing family of readers who continue to support and promote our modest efforts to foster discussion and critical thinking in the Odissi field. Please feel free to emails us with any comments, questions, or suggestions. We hope that you continue to read, share, and discuss the issues presented here so that we can continue to strengthen the Odissi ecosystem worldwide. Thank you and Happy Reading.

 

Sonali Mishra
Editor, Global Rasika
August, 2016
Detroit

 

Dr. Ileana Citaristi’s Search for Meaning

Photo Courtesy: Avinash Pasricha

Photo Courtesy: Avinash Pasricha

Decades ago, Italian-born Dr. Ileana Citaristi yearned for unrestrained expression and traveled to India in search of self-discovery. In the years that followed, she metamorphosed from a free-spirited hippie to a classical dancer of international repute. After having trained in Odissi under the legendary Guru Sri Kelucharan Mohapatra, Dr. Ileana Citaristi has since made Odisha her home.  She has established herself both nationally and internationally as a performer, scholar, choreographer and organiser. Dr. Citaristi founded her Bhubaneswar-based dance institute, Art Vision, in 1996. She has earned many awards and accolades for her work, including the prestigious “Padmashree” award by the Government of India in 2006. Dr. Citaristi’s most recent book, an autobiography aptly titled My Journey, A Tale of Two Births, published in 2015, candidly tells her story of transformation. We are happy to have had a chance to sit with Dr. Citaristi as she shared her life and experiences with us.

[Read more…]

A Lived Experience of Tradition: Odissi in a Liberal Arts Curriculum

Photo Courtesy: Susil Pani

Photo Courtesy: Susil Pani

 

by Aaadya Kaktikar

Note: This article is an excerpt from another article -Dancing in-between spaces: an auto-ethnographic exploration of an abhinaya class available at http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/sBZ8mFv348BRy5G8AABA/full

Three years ago, Odissi was introduced in the undergraduate curriculum in one of India’s first Liberal Arts universities. While dance had been a part of higher education curricula (to some extent) in India for a while, this phenomenon was unique in many ways. It marked a new direction for the meaning of Dance and Dance Education as an academic discipline in higher education in India. This article summarises the possible learning outcomes and the meanings generated by the transition and translation of a traditional dance form from one educational system to another.

[Read more…]

Mediating Odissi Culture: My Experience

Photo Courtesy: Susil Pani

Photo Courtesy: Susil Pani

by Saswat Joshi 

In 2006, I went abroad for the first time to South Korea with my Guru Dr. Ileana Citaristi to assist her with an Odissi workshop she was conducting. Being from the state of Odisha, that was the first time I felt like a true ambassador of Odiya culture. I began to think more in-depth about certain aspects of my culture that I had always taken for granted. One very simple example is attire: during the workshop I wore a dhoti, which I had always worn as a student at the Odissi Research Center. The workshop participants were quite excited to see me each morning because I was dressed in this traditional attire. Another example is that of “Guru Pranam.” Touching the Guru’s feet and taking their blessing was something the students were not familiar with. But every morning before the workshop session started, I would touch my Guru’s feet, as this is part of our tradition of learning dance, and something I was quite proud of. On the very last day of the workshop, without any prompting, the students came and touched our feet.

[Read more…]

Mediating Culture: Contributors August 2016

Silvana Duarte is an acknowledged exponent of Odissi in Brazil in the last two decades. Her professional background includes classical and modern ballet dance, jazz, yoga, and movement re-education. Duarte teaches Odissi and Yoga at her own studio, Padmaa – Arte e Cultura http://www.padmaa.com.br and at Indian Cultural Centre of the Consulate General of India São Paulo in Brazil. Silvana can be reached at: info@padmaa.com.br

Saswat Joshi is an Odissi dancer, teacher, choreographer and organiser currently based in Bhubaneswar. A recipient of the National Scholarship and Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Saswat is also gold medalist in Nritya Visharad, and received the Sangeet Ratna from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata. He founded a dance institute, Lasyakala in Bhubaneswar which currently has branches throughout India as well as Italy, France, UK, and Hungary. He also organises an annual festival, “Aekalavya,”  to honour the tradition of  Guru -Shishya parampara. Saswat can be reached at: saswat.joshi@gmail.com

Aadya Kaktikar An Odissi dancer, teacher and performer, Aadya works at the crossroads of contemporary education practices and traditional dance pedagogy. She is also the author of ‘Odissi Yaatra’ which documents the reconstruction of Odissi in the culturally vibrant years of the 40s, 50s and 60s.  Currently pursuing her Masters in Teaching Dance at the Royal Academy of Dance London, Aadya is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Education and Arts Design and Performing Arts in the Shiv Nadar University. She can be reached at aadya.n.17@gmail.com

Dr. Susil Pani was born in to a family of traditional cultural connousseours and academics. He is a (MBBS,DO, DNB) Eye Specialist Surgeon, presently stationed at Puducherry, India. His clinical place of travail is mainly his own clinic ‘RAGHU EYE CLINIC’ named after his father late Dr Raghunath Pani who was a prominent educationist, singer, and music composer of Odisha. Dr Susil Pani has been a passionately creative photographer since his college days. His area of interest has been Indian classical dance, temple cars, nature etc. His work can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/raghuclinic/ and http://www.narthaki.com/info/rev09/rev714.html. Dr. Susil Pani can be reached at raghuclinic@gmail.com

 

Negotiating Cultures

Photo Courtesy: Susil Pani

by Sylvana Duarte

India and Brazil are geographically so distant and belong to such different historical, religious and philosophical traditions that, at first, they seem to have nothing in common. However, that is not entirely true. A closer and more careful look can reveal several similarities between the two countries. The similarities bring it closer while the differences, despite causing initial strangeness, arouse, at the very least, curiosity and fascination towards “the other’s” culture. [Read more…]

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
Bhubaneswar