About Odissi Dance
Lyrical, graceful and sacred, Odissi dance was originally performed by maharis, female temple dancers, in the Jagannath temple in Puri as a form of prayer.
Over time, when the temple system came under threat, the dance form was transplanted to the villages and performed by young boys called Gotipua.
The present day presentation of Odissi has its roots in both temple and village ritual. The current incarnation of Odissi dance owes its revival to the efforts and artistic/creative talent of several Gurus. Guru Deb Prasad Das, Guru Pankaj Charan Das, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, through their vision and schools, have molded numerous Odissi dancers.
About Sarala Dandekar:
Sarala Dandekar has studied and performed classical Indian dance since childhood. She received intensive training in Odissi from Guru Jhelum Paranjape (Bombay) and additional training from the late Kelucharan Mohapatra, in his village in Bubaneswar, Orissa. Since 1991, Sarala Dandekar has performed and taught throughout the world, as a soloist in traditional performances as well as working with various dance troupes from the United States, Canada and India. In 1998 Sarala received her Master's Degree in Dance Ethnology at York University, Toronto. She has presented scholarly work at international dance conferences and written work is published in several dance journals, academic texts and is the recipient of nuemerous art grants. In addition to classical dance workshops and cultural education programs, Sarala performs classical choreography and explores principles of sacred geometry, yoga asana and contemporary themes in the spirit of creative exploration with dancers from around the world.