Odissi (O-ri-see) dance is an exquisite representation of the Hindustani traditions of art and tantric practice of balancing Shiva and Shakti and play with Kundalini. Evidence of its origins dates back to the second century BC, yet the form also benefits from a cultural revitalization in this last century that brings its spiritual ancestry and soul to life in a sophisticated and classical quality on the world stage for all to enjoy.
I began my study of the classical Indian art form of i Odissi Dance as a first generation child born in the USA to Indian parents who very much wanted me to experience the artistry of our ancestry. From 1984, at 4 years of age, until 1998 I studied vigorously with Guru Sangetta Mohapatra Kar. She was also a student of Odissi dance from age 4, and studied under Guru Padma Vibushan Kelucharun Mohapatra for more than 15 years before beginning teaching in the USA, and visited him yearly to continue her practice until he stopped teaching. I continued to study and dance with her while completing my Bachelors and Masters when I was home on vacations also. In 2003, I began teaching Odissi dance in the midwest USA and continues to do so today from my home in Madison, WI, USA. In 2018, by Lord Jaganath’s grace, I re-entered study while traveling the world and under various teachers, all in the lineage of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. Since, I have studied with Guru Poushali Mukherjee in Kolkata, INDIA, Revital Carroll, Colleena Shakti via USA workshops, and more recently Taissia Shpulnikova, Kaustavi Sarkar, Elena Catalano, Pallavi Basak, Rohan Dahle, Janhabi Behara and Guru Sujata Mohapatra via online platforms.
I have performed for years as both a solo artist and in group dances at cultural event and celebrations. My performances and classes explore balance, ancient hand postures known as mudras, rhythmic steps, eye movements, expressions, sacred geometry, breath, meditation, energetic control, emotion, and storytelling of mystical gods, goddesses, humanity, and nature.
Currently in 2020 my classes are online offerings. All levels of dancers welcome. Private instruction for individuals/groups as well as individual and group performance available via negotiation. Please inquire via contact in the form below.
Photographs: Padma Vibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra offering pushpanjali to Lord Jagannath, Raka Bandyo performing at Bhaktifest, Raka Bandyo teaching Chauka at UW Madison School of Dance, Guru Sangeeta Kar in Tribanghi at Konark Sun Temple, Raka Bandyo presenting performance and glamour