Finding My Destiny in Dance

by Manishikha Baul

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo


Life is the dancer and you are the dance” – Eckhart Tolle. I am Manishikha, an Odissi dancer and a global nomad.

Growing up: Born and brought up in India (Delhi and Kolkata) my journey as a dancer began at the age of eight under Shrimati Sutapa Talukdar. My mother, a lecturer in Russian language & member of Nichiren’s philosophy of Buddhism, walked me into Sutapa Di’s class on a pouring evening in Kolkata. Being associated with Gorky Sadan (Russian Institute), my childhood was flooded with opportunities to perform. My younger sister also started learning Bharatanatyam & Hindustani classical music. In the lantern-lit evenings we would recite bols and shlokas for the other while one practiced. My interest in arts, I would like to believe, is an inheritance from my father, an architect and an impressionist artist. He was also my worst critic. I lost him in my early twenties. As most stories of middle class families go, various circumstances and the need to earn a living took me far away from my path of dance when I was in high school. I went on to study English Literature before joining GE Healthcare services where I met my husband. An Urdu poet, animal lover, photographer and an engineer, he has been my biggest motivator. [Read more…]

The Roles Dancers Play

Adapted from A Life Beyond Words: Dancing Religion: Performativity and Insider-Outsider Duality

 by Kaustavi Sarkar

Hands of a dancer

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

The identities of a dancer, researcher, Bengali, part of the Bengali diaspora, dance teacher and choreographer – are individually enough shape one’s life. In my case however, I have confronted and absorbed each one of them, accepting that each of these roles manifest individually or simultaneously within the context of the hour. Collectively, these various roles operate at different layers shaping my thoughts, my aspirations, my inhibitions, and hence my overall evolution. [Read more…]