East Indian Odissi
Originating in the temples of Eastern India in the second century B.C., Odissi is a classical dance form combining rhythmic and vigorous body and foot movements with dramatics. Master teacher Nandita Behera, who has international performance experience and fame and is the artistic director of Odissi Dance Circle in Cerritos, trained in India for 25 years with her teachers, Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra and Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, before coming to the United States in 1988. Says Nandita, “I am committed to the promotion of this traditional art form to the Western World….. Odissi is my prayer and my profession. It is my life.”
In 2002, Nandita was a master artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program with Sharanya Mukhopadhyay, and Odissi dancer recognized as exceptionally gifted for her age (then 144 years). During the apprenticeship, Nandita helped Sharanya prepare two traditional compositions based on episodes from the legends of Krishna, the most celebrated hero in Hindu mythology, and his divine wife, Radha.