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.

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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.

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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…]

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…]