In conversation with Ranjana Gauhar, an Odissi dancer

Q SINCE HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN ODISSI DANCING ??
I started learning about 26-27 yrs ago, and started teaching at a very early stage (helping my Guru take Classes) and that is since 23 yrs. ago

Q WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT CLASSICAL DANCE IN DELHI ??
Classical dances are with the elitist of people, who have the teste for it. It is very popular amongst those who are familiar with it.
· People are interested but lack of initiative holds them back.
· The organisers do not respond and Government handly does thing.
· The audiences are few

Q WHY IS THE YOUTH OF TODAY SHIFTING TO JAZZ ETC., ESPECIALLY THE TEENAGERS ??
There is lack of cultural sensitivity in the youth. Something to do with their up bringing. It takes generations to understand and respect the cultural heritage. The movement is yet to start. Now days, people think that only by joining the army or becoming a politician. You become a patriot, which is very wrong.
· The youth has to realise that love for cultural art and heritage is also a high form of patriotism.
· Our government policies have to be strengthened and policis favouring the growth and development of art, also should be formed.
· Young Indians want to be proud, but they don’t know how to get to that level.
· There is a general lack of national character. People have to get serious & disciplined.

Q DOES ODISSI REQUIRE A PERFECT AMBIANCE OR A LOT OF MONEY TO BE INVESTED BY PARENTS ??
Perfect ambiance is helpful, but it depends on individuals financial capacity. Some money has to be invested by parents as teachers have to survive.

Q IS CLASSICAL DANCE A PAYING CAREER ??
Classical dance is an activity which demands a lot of dedication & devotion. How much it pays, depends entirely on an individuals efforts.

Q DO YOU RECOMMEND A PARTICULAR AGE AT WHICH TRAINING SHOULD BEGIN ??
Five years onward, training should be started. However, you can learn Odissi at any age as it does not require only the body but also the soul, emotions, expression and spiritualistic feeling, which requires no specific age.

Q SOME INFORMATION ABOUT ODISSI ??
After the reincarnation or rediscovery of classical arts, odissi is the youngest. The art form is yet very unspoilt odissi is a dance of devotion, devoted to praying ritualism and quality performances. It is sensual and lyrically musical, very rich and touches you deeply.

Q WHAT ARE THE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE FIELD OF ODISSI ??
Till about early 50’s, it was being reconstructed, but it is a matured art now. It has a widely ranged repudiate. More of modern & folk vocabulary is being used in performances. Exploration is necessary for the art to grow and effort but in is worth it.

Q SOLUTIONS/IDEAS WHICH CAN BE ADOPTED TO GENERATE & MAINTAIN INTEREST FOR ODISSI DANCE IN TODAY’S YOUTH ??
Youth has to be exposed to lecture demos, theatre performances, etc.
· Television and Newspapers should be actively involved with classical dancers and try to generate interest in a contemporary way
· Small programmes & repeat performances should be undertaken to reach out to a group at a time, rather than address a huge gathering at once.
· Interest should be created by parents and grandparents first.

 

Email: rgauhar@hotmail.com