Independent Spirit: My Journey as a Solo Artist

by Ayona Bhaduri

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Every competent artist, with a thirst for knowledge and a will to rid her art of parochialism and complacency, goes through a very significant and inevitable transitory phase from collective participation to individual pursuit; in case of a dancer, from working within an ensemble to venturing out as a soloist. I think a lot of it has to do with the dancer’s intellect. Beyond the physicality of the dance, when the mind begins to yearn for the ‘tripti’ or total satisfaction brought about by complete synergy of the mind, body and soul over and above the immediate trivial concerns of movement technique, when the ‘utsah’ of a movement stems from the emotion driving it so much so that the body feels just right at the said moment, in perfect harmony with the mind, in response to the ‘bhava’ initiating the movement, that is when the dancer intuitively knows that it is time and that she is ready to start her individual pursuit, searching both within and outside herself, to find her own personal vision that would define her art. Because every work of art ultimately becomes a true reflection of the artist herself.

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Bijayini Satpathy@Nrityagram: Classical Dance in a Contemporary Context

Photo Courtesy: Kartik Venkataraman

Photo Courtesy: Kartik Venkataraman

When Bijayini Satpathy first set foot in Nrityagram, the Odissi dance institute founded by the Late Protima Gauri Bedi, she knew there was no turning back. In her twenty-plus years at Nrityagram, she, along with famed dancer-choreographer Surupa Sen, have successfully crossed cultural and linguistic barriers to carve a niche for themselves in the international dance arena. Arguably one of the most sought after dance ensembles in the world, Nrityagram has worked extensively to explore and expand the pedagogy and dance vocabulary of Odissi, drawing upon various movement disciplines to inform their process and approach. Bijayini Satpathy, currently serving as Director of Training, shares with us her own personal journey at Nrityagram, her thoughts on Odissi, and Nrityagram’s approach to dance education.

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