Finding Meaning in Odissi Through Dislocation: One Perspective of a Diaspora Dancer

by Nabanita Pal

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo


(i) Odissi is Not a Commodity
Odissi in the United States (U.S.) was first nurtured in people’s homes, in basements and garages converted into makeshift dance studios. Before there were performances in professional theaters, group productions, and Mancha Praveshes, there were small classes that started through word of mouth. I can delineate much of my childhood and adolescence by parts of the Odissi repertoire. First grade was Mangalacharan. Second grade was Stayi. Third Grade was Batu, and so on and so forth. Just as I grew up with this art form, it too grew with the tireless efforts of teachers and promoters who built a base of future Odissi dancers, one student at a time. [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…]