Editor’s Note

Photo Courtesy: Susil Pani

Photo Courtesy: Susil Pani

Welcome Beloved Readers, to the August 2016 issue of Global Rasika, the online initiative launched in April 2014 to cultivate critical thinking and discourse across the Odissi community worldwide.

This issue, “Mediating Culture,” addresses the issue of the navigating different cultural contexts. The engagement with Odissi on all levels – for performers, teachers, students, and organisers, requires an element of ‘mediation’ in different socio-cultural settings. This process of negotiation varies according to the practitioner, environment, cultural context, etc. In this issue our writers explore the process of ‘mediating culture’ in various perspectives: the transitioning of Odissi pedagogy into an academic setting, to the bridging of Indian and Brazilian cultures through the medium of dance, as well as the experience of mediating “Odissi culture” abroad.

For this issue, we are privileged to interview the internationally acclaimed dancer, scholar, teacher, writer, and 2006 Padmashree Awardee Dr. Ileana Citaristi, whose love for Odissi and Odia culture propelled her to build a life and home for herself in Odisha. Dr. Citaristi shared with us her varied experiences and perspectives on how she navigated her life in two distinct socio-cultural paradigms.

We are also proud to launch our “Artist Initiative” an effort to support talented and dedicated Odissi dancers by providing a virtual platform for them to showcase their talent. We are delighted to feature Bhubaneswar-based Janhabi Behera for the launch of this initiative. Janhabi is a highly skilled and sensitive dancer who has performed extensively throughout India and abroad.

We would like to offer our sincere thanks to our writers for this issue: Dr. Aadya Kaktakar, Silvana Duarte, and Saswat Joshi: Thank you for so generously sharing your extensive knowledge and experience in the field, and for the passion and energy with which you approached the topic. We would also like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Susil Pani, who so generously contributed his images for this issue – thank you for your enthusiasm and support to realize our vision.

Lastly we would like to thank our growing family of readers who continue to support and promote our modest efforts to foster discussion and critical thinking in the Odissi field. Please feel free to emails us with any comments, questions, or suggestions. We hope that you continue to read, share, and discuss the issues presented here so that we can continue to strengthen the Odissi ecosystem worldwide. Thank you and Happy Reading.

 

Sonali Mishra
Editor, Global Rasika
August, 2016
Detroit

 

Dr. Ileana Citaristi’s Search for Meaning

Photo Courtesy: Avinash Pasricha

Photo Courtesy: Avinash Pasricha

Decades ago, Italian-born Dr. Ileana Citaristi yearned for unrestrained expression and traveled to India in search of self-discovery. In the years that followed, she metamorphosed from a free-spirited hippie to a classical dancer of international repute. After having trained in Odissi under the legendary Guru Sri Kelucharan Mohapatra, Dr. Ileana Citaristi has since made Odisha her home.  She has established herself both nationally and internationally as a performer, scholar, choreographer and organiser. Dr. Citaristi founded her Bhubaneswar-based dance institute, Art Vision, in 1996. She has earned many awards and accolades for her work, including the prestigious “Padmashree” award by the Government of India in 2006. Dr. Citaristi’s most recent book, an autobiography aptly titled My Journey, A Tale of Two Births, published in 2015, candidly tells her story of transformation. We are happy to have had a chance to sit with Dr. Citaristi as she shared her life and experiences with us.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

Editor’s Note

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Welcome Dear Readers, to the Winter 2016 issue of Global Rasika, the online initiative launched in 2014 to foster critical thinking and dialogue across the Odissi community worldwide.

This issue of Global Rasika, “Beyond the Stage,” focuses on seemingly unrelated initiatives taking place to explore different facets of Odissi. More and more Odissi practitioners are challenging the status-quo across different dimensions, further enriching the art form in the process. Our contributors discuss in detail the specific initiatives that they have been pursuing: from re-thinking Odissi pedagogy, to developing multimedia resources, creating multi-dimensional organizations – all of which expand our engagement, understanding and accessibility to the art form.

We are also very fortunate to feature in this issue Dr. Rekha Tandon, who seamlessly transitions between her roles of dancer, researcher, writer, and choreographer. Dr. Tandon shares with us her own journey as an artist and scholar, and the urge for creative expression, which compelled her to redefine Odissi and expand its frontiers – resulting in an extensive body of work, informed by years of research and analysis and which offers a fresh perspective of the art.

We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to our writers: Dr. Rohini Dandavate, Dr. Elena Catalano, Nisha Somasundaram and Patricia Salgado – not only for contributing to this issue, but for the work they doing to enrich the experience of Odissi for the broader community. We would also like to extend our special thanks to Bhubaneswar-based photographer Debiprasad Sahoo for generously contributing his images and for helping communicate our vision more effectively.

As always, we request that you continue to read, share and discuss these issues to further enhance Global Rasika’s rasikas globally. In our quest to bring alternate voices which may otherwise get muffled in the Odissi ecosystem, (in the absence of an institutionalized platform), we encourage your contribution to Global Rasika. Please write to us if you have an idea or perspective that you would like to explore further and share with our readers.

Our sincerest gratitude to our readers around the world for actively supporting our efforts to create a vibrant and engaging Odissi community!

Sonali Mishra
Editor, Global Rasika
February 2016
Bhubaneswar

 

Rekha Tandon on Odissi: New Metaphors, New Meanings

Photo Courtesy: Robyn Beeche

Photo Courtesy: Robyn Beech

Dr. Rekha Tandon has successfully carved her own path as a dancer, writer, researcher, and choreographer. Having undergone years of rigorous training in Odissi, her desire to find her individual voice as an artist led her to delve deeper into the study of dance and movement. She was awarded of the Charles Wallace Arts Fellowship (UK), and a UNESCO Artists’ Bursary Award for further studies at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, where she was awarded her PhD in 2005. Her thesis focused on examining Odissi from the perspective of Choreological Studies. Dr. Tandon, along with her partner, Michael Weston, founded their company Danceroutes in 1997, under which they collaborated on a number of groundbreaking projects and initiatives including (but not limited to) the Danceroutes Repertory Group, KAI (Knowledge-Arts-Initiatives) Trust, and the book Odissi: A Dance in Sculpture, which was published in 2011. They have also conducted extensive research in related aspects of Odissi dance. Dr. Tandon currently resides in Pondicherry, where she has recently completed a manuscript called “Petals of the Lotus-Background, Technique and Embodiment of Odissi Dance,” which is expected to be published this year. Dr. Tandon shares with us her journey as a creative artist, as well as her insights on Odissi.

[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…]