Collaboration: Kala the Arts and Debabrata Pal

We took part in an exiting workshop exploring Odissi dance with Kala The Arts and Debabrata Pal

In October, we headed to Basingstoke for an exiting workshop exploring Odissi dance with Kala The Arts and Debabrata Pal.

Kala The Arts is the leading South Asian Dance organisation in the region and the leading Odissi Dance organisation in the UK. Based in Hampshire and operating since 1999, the organisation was founded by Sushmita Pati, an international Odissi artist, choreographer and Artistic Director of Kala The Arts. 

Our workshop started with an introduction to Odissi, a classical dance thought to be one of the oldest ritual dance forms in existence. Odissi originates from the state of Odisha (formerly Orissa) in Eastern India; first performed in the temples of Odisha before being presented on theatre stages. The dance form is celebrated for its lyricism, sensuality and emphasis on bhakti bhava (attitude of devotion and surrender). 

Joining the workshop was Debabrata Pal, a canvas dancer and visual storyteller based in Mumbai. Debabrata Pal combines dance with paint, working with musicians and dancers , painting interpretations of their performances. 

Our dancers learned a new stylistic approach, as Odissi revolves around the ‘Tribhanga’; the head, torso and lower body oppose each other, creating three bends within the body’s shape.

Our Project Coordinator Ollie got to join the group for this new dance experience; he said: “After a short rehearsal, we created a short co-created piece that highlighted two very different dance styles. The aim was to showcase who different ways of moving can both contrast and complement each other.”

“The process was really rewarding, as there was plenty of time to work collaboratively and understand what both parties wanted to include. It was really good for the Fuzzy dancers to experience other cultures, as well as create something with different art forms involved. We particularly enjoyed working with Debabrata Pal, as he was working in a dance style we had never experienced and foot painting! A very interesting art from that we had never witness before.”

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