Pedagogy in Odissi: Multiple Voices, Multiple Perspectives

by Aastha Gandhi

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

 

Method of Teaching
Indian classical dance training is highly codified where students are mostly taught through a method of imitation of Guru’s demonstrations. The explanation of technical manoeuvring of the body depends on the teacher’s proficiency in technique; the core process involves imitation with a few guidelines and instructions. If not explained consciously, the techniques of weight- shift, balance, movement and division of body are imbibed through the unquestioned process of imitation. Abhinaya pieces are explained along with anecdotes and stories to make the theme clearer, seldom followed by discussions around the chosen story. Understanding of the body, and the form comes with one’s own practice; riyaaz, emphasized during the training period. “Angasuddhi” (purity of movement) and “saustabha” (purity of body line) become the defining criteria of one’s technical expertise over the form. (Chatterjee, 1996; 74- 75)

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