ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July



OTTOBONI LUCREZIA - La Sapienza, Dipartimento di Storia, Antropologia, Religioni, Arte, Spettacolo, ROME, Italy


33 – Transmitting know-how in a shifting world – the case of contemporary India


 Odissi has been recognized by the Indian government as the classical dance form of the state of Odisha. Characterized by a strong regional flavour and claimed historicity, Odissi is considered a cultural heritage dance in the Oṛiyā community, which strives to preserve the “purity” of the aesthetic and hence the “authenticity” of this choreutic tradition. In the present context of increasing globalization and popularization of Odissi dance, how such form of knowledge is negotiated, maintained and reinvented in Odisha? Focusing on the dance education system imparted in higher education institutions and schools of Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha, my paper explores contemporary Odissi dance transmission as an active tool for upholding the regional identity. At the same time, reflections on the current pedagogic interculturalism of dance education pratices in local institutions become even more relevant today. By delving into specific pedagogic characteristics, I aim to discuss about how Odissi dance transmission is meaningfully diversifying in the last few years and both teachers and students have a lot more to explore within a digital dance education environment.

Incorporating my own field experience as an Odissi practitioner and an academic reserchear, I also analyse some case studies that disclose the tension between tradition and modernity, in the ongoing process of Odissi dance development in the state of Odisha.