What is it about?

Can one understand and remember the feeling of embodying the “correct” dance stance or movement internally? How to safely reach that place? How to continue performing while not being corrected by someone externally? Exercises and training methods based on embodied imagery, metaphor and sensory awareness are applied in Odissi dance training by some dance institutes and dancers in India. This article discusses how their practice provides some answers to the questions posed earlier and demonstrates a shift from the objectified to a subjective approach to the dancer’s body that empowers students/dancers to reclaim the ownership of their bodies, movements and performative experiences.

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Why is it important?

This work highlights an essential block in the training process. It enables dance students to move towards ‘perfection,’ however, with a healthy, thinking, feeling, moving and agentive bodymind.

Perspectives

This article originates from a personal need to find ways to safely and meaningfully continue Odissi dance training while being far from the physical presence of a teacher and their day-to-day supervision. In my ongoing research, I follow the psychophysical performers’, dance scholars’, somatic movement practitioners’, dance anthropologists’ and philosophers’ study of bodymind and embodiment alongside Odissi dancers’ practice in India. I hope this work offers insight into individual and embodied movement explorations in Odissi dance and serves as an inspiration for performers seeking a more profound and intimate experience in their practices.

Sabina Sweta Sen-Podstawska
University of Silesia in Katowice

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This page is a summary of: Moving towards aṇgasuddhi and saustabham with a conscious bodymind: Embodied imagery, metaphor and sensory awareness in Odissi dance training, Journal of Dance & Somatic Practices, July 2022, Intellect, DOI: 10.1386/jdsp_00068_1.
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