"Spirituality is the core of Indian art. Evolved out of spiritual passions, art in India has gone hand in hand with religion since time immemorial. Be it sculpture, architecture, painting, dance, music, the theme of the artist is rooted in religion; the urge is as much spiritual as asthetic. While religion is a matter of faith, spirituality is a divine experience of communion with the divine. All the Indian art-forms have been attuned to this ideal." (from Odissi Dance by D.N. Patnaik)

Odissi dance originates from the dances which were once performed by the temple dancers or Maharis in the temples of Orissa.

I first saw Odissi dance at the Ethnic Dance auditions in San Francisco danced by a woman who was hard of hearing and later with whom I discussed the relationship between sign language for the deaf (I was an interpreter for the deaf at that time), mudras, and the language of Indian dance. Then I saw Odissi again in Bali danced by Geeta and Ramli from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Moved so much but this spiritual, sensual cosmic dance, I decided at that moment I must go to India and study Odissi.

I did then go to Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India and found my way to The Orissa Dance Academy under the direction of Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, where I studied Odissi for six months. I then returned to India again the next year for another six months of study. Since then I have been studying with Sri Manoranjan Pradhan, a devoted and excellent teacher and leading dancer of Orissa. I have also studied with Nandita Behera.

While in India I was inspired by the artwork I saw and made a series of drawings. These I compiled and created DIVINE PLAY, a coloring book for all ages with drawings of some of the Hindu Gods and Goddeses.

To contact me, I am at: bhava_dance @hotmail.com

For more information on Odissi click here.

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To Contact Barbara, email to: bhava_dance@hotmail.com