Supriya Deepak, an Odissi Dancer, Anand Foundation

Supriya Deepak, an Odissi Dancer

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.