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

 

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

 

Editor’s Note

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Hello Dear Readers! We are delighted to present the summer issue of Global Rasika, an online initiative launched in 2014 to cultivate critical thinking and discourse across the Odissi dance community worldwide.

This issue of Global Rasika, “Changing Paradigms in Odissi Dance,” explores the changing dimensions in Odissi’s ecosystem and their possible future impact in today’s context. The last decade or so has brought about dramatic transitions in the world – economic, political, cultural, and social. These changes, further intensified by the internet and social media, have drastically altered the value systems not only in India but throughout the world. Thus, changes in the overall dynamics: our understanding, approach, practice and promotion of classical dance – is inevitable.

In this issue, our writers express their views on several live debates amongst the Odissi fraternity today: Dance as means of unlocking creative potential, performance in alternative spaces, a departure from the conventional mode of learning in pursuit of an individual artistic journey, and exploring Odissi as a means of creative expression. Our writers challenge the ingrained set of values that have defined the ‘norm’ in the field and which, if not examined carefully, will run the risk of doing the art form more harm than good.

We are grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with veteran Odissi dancer Guru Smt. Aruna Mohanty, who offers valuable insight and perspective from her active involvement in the dance field over the last several decades.

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the contributors for this issue: Merle O’Brien, Ayona Bhaduri, Ashwini Raghupathy and Fatima Montero, for drawing upon their own experiences and research to share with our readers. We also would like to thank photographer Debiprasad Sahoo, who has accompanied us on this journey from the very beginning and who continues to support our vision.

As with our previous issues, we humbly request our readers to please read, analyze and discuss the ideas presented here. It is our hope that with continued discourse, we can collectively contribute to the continuous and holistic transformation and progression of Odissi, helping to retain and hopefully further its position as a leading form of dance expression not just amongst classical forms in India but amongst all forms of dance globally. We welcome your feedback and suggestions to further our efforts to create a vibrant, engaged, and aware Odissi community worldwide.

Many thanks to you: our growing list of readers – for your continued support and enthusiasm.

Sonali Mishra
Editor, Global Rasika
July 2015
Detroit

Editor’s Note

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

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.

 

Sonali Mishra
Editor, Global Rasika
Bhubaneswar, Odisha
March 2015.

Editor’s Note

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

 

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.

 

Sonali Mishra
Editor, Global Rasika
Bhubaneswar, Odisha
November, 2014.

Editor’s Note

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Happy July Everyone! We are happy to bring to you our summer issue of Global Rasika, the online quarterly launched in April of this year to foster critical thinking and discourse in the Odissi field.

Our sophomore issue, ‘Redefining Odissi in a Global Context,’ explores this dance form in the international sphere. As Odissi is now forging roots in other parts of the world, it is important to re-examine, and to an extent, re-negotiate the cultural values that have traditionally dominated how the art is taught, learned, choreographed, and presented. The global ecosystem that Odissi now inhabits will bring to the table a diversity of perspectives, both artistically and culturally. It is inevitable that the dance form as practiced in the current context will transform to some degree in order to accommodate these views.

In this issue of Global Rasika, our writers carefully examine Odissi as it is taken out of its cultural roots and into an international context: Commodification of Odissi, practicing the art as a static vs. living dance form, re-examining the concepts of rasa and rasika to increase accessibility of the art form, and the experience of teaching and learning Odissi in Russia, are some of the topics explored in this issue. We are also pleased to feature Malaysian Odissi dancer January Low, who enhanced our discussions by sharing her own experiences as a performer.

I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to our contributors for this issue: Aastha Gandhi, Elena Catalano, Nabanita (Neeta} Pal, and Taiisia Shpulnikova – Thank you all for sharing your research, personal and professional experiences and observations to make Global Rasika what we strive to be. Special thanks to Debiprasad Sahoo who was generous enough to contribute his images once more for this issue.

We encourage all of you to continue to read, share and discuss… and contribute to our efforts to build a global network of dancers, scholars, researchers, critics to cultivate thought-leadership for the cause of Odissi.

Thank you for your support and for taking this journey with us.

Sonali Mishra
Editor, Global Rasika
July 2014
New York

Editor’s Note

Dancer doing pranam

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Welcome to our launch issue of Global Rasika! As the world rejoices in the beauty and spirit of dance, we are thrilled to bring to you this quarterly to encourage critical thinking and discourse on Odissi. Besides providing a virtual forum for dancers, writers, and scholars, Global Rasika also aims to explore key issues in the field.

The idea for this issue’s theme, Identity and Odissi Dance, emerged after having participated in many a discussion regarding authenticity, tradition, and innovation. Odissi’s global expansion has redefined the mechanisms of understanding and approaching the dance form, raising many questions about cultural identity in a changing context.

Drawing upon their personal/professional experiences and research, our contributors, all of whom have trained in Odissi in various capacities, have quite compellingly explored this theme. The range of ideas that emerged, from personal explorations of cultural and artistic identity, to that of cultural authenticity in relation to language, to stylistic identities within the form, to the changing role of female dancers in the course of globalization – is a testament to the increasing complexities associated with Odissi’s transition into the global sphere; discourse and scholarship in the field are needed now more than ever. Further enhancing our discussions was Smt. Madhusmita Mohanty, recipient of the 2014 Mahari Award, who very graciously shared her experiences and views on Odissi.

We are eternally grateful to everyone who contributed their time and effort to make this possible. Our writers: Dali Basu, Shilpa Bertuletti, Ranjana Dave, Laurence LeBail, Kaustavi Sarkar and Sanatani Rombola – thank you for seeing this vision and carrying it forward. Debiprasad Sahoo for contributing his images (and time), Rupa Mishra for her continued feedback to get the right ‘look.’ Last but not least, Srijat Mishra, for being the sounding board and support since the inception of this project months ago.

Like many new endeavors, Global Rasika is a work in progress. We hope that you will support our humble efforts to contribute to the continued growth and evolution of Odissi dance. We look forward to hearing from all of you and hope that you will join us on this exciting journey.

Happy reading and welcome to our family.

Sonali Mishra
Editor, Global Rasika
April, 2014
Bhubaneswar