Supriya Deepak is currently pursuing post graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication. She describes herself as “A writer by thought and dancer at heart”.
AS: How long have you been dancing?
SD: I have been dancing ever since I can remember. But professionally, I only started learning at 19.
AS: How did you find Odissi?
SD: I was always interested in classical Indian art forms. When I was 17, I saw Ranjana Gauhar perform. It was the first time I saw Odissi live and it had me hooked. I realized after that programme that I was far better suited for Odissi than Bharatanatyam or Mohiniattam (being a South Indian, I was more influenced by these two).
AS: Why did you start dancing? Was it a conscious decision or did you begin your dance classes as a hobby?
SD: It was an extremely conscious decision. I always felt incomplete somehow. Dancing completed me.
AS: What do you take back from your interactions with Guruji and with ma’am?
SD: So much! But to put it short, I’m always reminded to stay humble and always work hard.
AS: Has dancing influenced you in any manner?
SD: Yes, definitely. Dancing has made me a much better person. I’m in touch with myself and in control. But most importantly, it has made me a peaceful person.
AS: Why are you still dancing?
SD: Because when I dance, I feel like I become the best ‘form’ or avatar of myself!
AS: Has anyone started learning Indian Classical Dance after watching you perform?
SD: Yes! My 35 year old cousin got back to dancing after watching me perform! She has started learning Kathak.
AS: Mayadhar Raut School of Odissi Dance lays strong emphasis on the Guru-Shishya Parampara. How do you understand this system of learning and knowledge? Has it had any positive influence on you?
SD: I think that the Parampara means selfless devotion. Devotion towards your Guru, dance and yourself. It is this Devotion that makes you a better person,. Ma’am has always supported the potential I have in me as a dancer. I always felt the responsibility of her trust and faith in me, and I tried my best to never take her for granted. So I guess the positive influence is that I try not to become overconfident about my own potentials, whenever I get unconditional support. Rather, I try my best to keep up to my Guru’s expectations.
AS: What are the feelings and emotions that you experience when you are dancing on the stage?
SD: I have somehow always been more interested in the class than the stage. On stage I become conscious of how I’m performing leading to nervousness . But it gradually goes away.
AS: How did your family respond to your dance?
SD: I feel really blessed! Each and every member of my family was quite happy and extremely supportive!
AS: Are there any Odissi schools close to your residence? (In South India, I mean)
SD: Sadly no, mostly people around me got to know about Odissi, only after I told them.
AS: Now that you are away from the dance class, what has happened to Odissi? Are you practicing on your own or have you stopped?
SD: Now that I am away, I try to keep up with practice as much as possible. It does seem a little tough at times because instead of feeling happy I end up feeling depressed for not being able to continue. But, I try to stay positive and keep practicing!
AS: Will Odissi be a part of your life from this point on?
SD: Yes, definitely! I can’t imagine myself not dancing. It has become a part of the way I move.