Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dancing Odissi for Lord Jagannath in his homeland

Just back from Orissa, having danced at the International Odissi Festival,2011. I came to know of my participation just ten days before the event, and it was a lot of quick planning to get dance practice, costume, air tickets, hotel bookings etc. all done in a jiffy. I danced 'Archana Puri', a special dance where a devadasi prays to Lord Jagannath in his temple in Puri. Having performed this dance I realised that this dance by Guru Surendra Nath Jena is not a dance but a prayer. It gives the dancer a special kind of satisfaction, elation and blessing and brings her so close to Jagannath ji. In fact this whole year of 2011, seemed like a series of planned events by Jagannath ji. I brought my family in January to Orissa to take blessings from him. And it gave me creative stimulus this year like I have never had before. I created new things and realised so many new things. He came to our house in the form of a beautiful Jagannath painting painted by an artist from Raghurajpur. In our Odissi classes we showered Jagannath ji with love,flowers, shashtang pranams and even learnt to make his face in a craft project. And then as the year drew to a close Jagannath ji invited me to Orissa again, to dance, experience him intensely in a very special dance Archana Puri. It was as if he wanted to let me know that we have found a very special love in each other and it will only multiply with time. I feel blessed.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Creating a Website leads to the way...

Some months back came some divine inspiration and I knew I wanted to share my Odissi thoughts, ideas and projects with lots of people. Many more than those I know. And thats how the idea to the dance website came about. And in a more structured way than in a blog. So the website is coming up and in the process of writing its content, I was surprised at my own thoughts on Odissi. Some of them just sprang out of nowhere, springing out with a force! How precious and loved Odissi is in my life! I never knew I intutivelely absorbed so much of it! I am now aware of a universe of understanding Odissi that lies within me, in a cosmic level I have never accessed. So now along with dancing, I seek to undertake this journey, and find out all that I have understood about Odissi from the bottom of my heart and the love of my soul.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Guru and Me

Recently as dance and spirituality have formed a wonderful connect in my mind, I also discovered the amazing understanding of a Guru from both these perspectives. All the ideas of a guru being like a teacher, mentor, guide seem limited in their dimensions. I think that the guru is the bridge from the mortal world to the divine, even the means to go in free flight into the cosmic world within. Suddenly one finds such love, joy and blessings and a feeling of ever expansiveness, I think this must be how people feel skydiving accompanied by the stillness of the world outside and within. A wonderful classical dance class or daily meditation leaves one with such heightened awareness. Suddenly one finds leaves greener, the traffic sounds like a symphony and joy welling up in the cup of one's heart. Is it joy, or gladness or contentment, a feeling difficult to define in english terms? I think it is 'anand' the hindi term for a kind of lasting forever feeling of bliss.

Amazing Gurus are those who take us skydiving when we are walking on the road, plunging into the ocean of our depths and opening up forever the room of our being to a gorgeous view. From this room with a view we start looking at things afresh and feel wonderfully drenched in the sunshine or raindrops that come our way. To even say Thank you for these experiences feels small, it is as if me and my Guru were designed for each other. For a journey much beyond soulmates.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar shows the way

Guruji gave me a whole new perspective to dance today. I read in his notes," all the talents you have are for others. If you are a good cook, it is for others.If you have a lovely voice, it is for others. If you write a good book, it is for others. What do you do? You dont sit and read your own book!"
It made me figure out, this is my seva! Art is the service we do for others, spreading the joy and beauty of art to so many more. To dance with that love and joy and 'seva bhaav' to me ties up with my inherently devotional understanding of Indian classical dance. Not to enjoy the dance only for myself or to perform for my CV, but to get the glimpse of the divine to reach others. Indian dance is anyway a 'satsang' in which one has amazing 'roop darshan' of our beloved gods. Someday I caught that glimpse in someone's dance and decided to find that experience in my own being. Now its time to perform that seva for others:)

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Odissi journey

Went last night to watch my fellow odissi dancer Mayuka perform her contemporary dance piece and had a wonderful time watching contemporary dance. Its great fun to watch new artistes perform, in classical or contemporary formats. Such a breath of fresh air!

It made me think along the lines of what I would like to express in a contemporary format. The contemporary dance format is really well suited to our 'I' centred generation with its unlimited performance art kind of canvas. I still prefer to work on the path of expressing my self within the format of odissi. I love the time travel to a world of sculptures, orissa landscape and the divine zone of my beloved gods and goddesses. I wish to deepen my understanding of odissi dance and music in order to express not just myself, but to deepen my quest into this awesome world where I travel. It is an internal world as much as physical, close to the cosmic landscape one experiences in meditation. I hope my odissi space shuttle takes me to many unknown galaxies which few few rishis and sages have experienced.

So till then I am very much on aboard getting all my space gear in place, preparing for the wonderful journey into the cosmos. Odissi is my wonderful vehicle, my medium to reach places and then come back to plunge into the temple of my heart. Deep divine love and unabandoned intoxication is all I seek, from the miles and miles I have to travel before I sleep.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dancing with my thoughts...once more

Searching for an old article on dance I had written, I stumbled on my own blog started 4 years back after one baby. Having had two babies now and actively back to dancing, so deep in the dance process, I felt it time to write afresh:)
Some of my dance thoughts felt precious, like the relationship with different dances likened to having different friends. All with such varied personalities, some more subtle, some so larger than life, and some oh-so high maintenance:)!!
I think the biggest difference to dancing now after two babies is that I realise more and more how much bigger than me dance is. And how life is a creative process just like dance and all our creativity is created, developed and nurtured together. I grow in many ways creatively now: as a dancer, artist and mum, finding new inspiration and immense joy in dance, all works of art and my lovely babies. Life is a masterpiece when viewed in its totality, to be fixated on one thing is kind of like losing perspective. One seeks for creativity and deep insight from many aspects of life and art, the search is the same. The lesser the tags we put on our wonderful painting of life, the more multicolour our experience of it will be!