Learn Odissi in Chennai

Should you go to Orissa to learn their classical dance Odissi?
Not really, I attend this Odissi dance class after my school hours, in Chennai. My teacher is Sanhita Basu Ghose and the classes are held at her dance school – Konark Dance Academy in Besant Nagar.

Why Odissi?

Most of my friends learn Bharatanatyam. But, I wanted to learn something different and unusual. My mother found out about this class and when she told me about it, I immediately agreed to join as Odissi is from Orissa – a state that I don’t know much about. I thought that attending this class would also help me explore more about India’s diverse art forms.

About the dance school and my class

There are 20 students who attend classes at the dance school on different days and in different batches. In my batch there are four students – two children (including me) and two adults. My classes are from 5.45 pm to 6.45 pm twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

In addition to regular classes, my teacher also holds summer camps and workshops. A lot of foreigners attend these classes.

The Odissi dance form

Odissi originated from Orissa. The reigning deity of this dance is Lord Jagannath ( Krishna) who is worshipped with his brother Balabhadra (Balaram) and sister Subhadra.

The dancers wear cotton sari and silver jewellery. The main position in the dance is the ‘chowka’ where the dancer stands in a semi squatting position, feet apart and arms bent and parallel to her shoulders. Some famous Odissi dancers are Sonal Mansingh, Protima Bedi and Sanjukta Panigrahi.

My dance teacher also encourages us to see live Odissi Performance whenever there is a show in Chennai and tells us a lot about the dance, Orissa and its culture.
Konark Odissi Dance and Art Academy is at T 29, 7th Avenue, Besant Nagar. Phone 099400 12947. Email : sanhita_odissi@yahoo.in

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