“All Indian classical dances and yoga are based on a common understanding of a yogic body map, where the spinal cord and its symbolic chakras, function like the ‘shrine in the body’. Bringing awareness to these chakras systematically is like walking a pathway, where your focus changes from the external physical body, to an internal state of mind that is free from the limitations of the body. This is done through well-known, tried and tested techniques in the traditions of yoga and tantra. My work has been about applying these methods to Odissi, and the book describes my view of both classical Indian dance and life,” says Rekha, who has been a trainer in Odissi for 40 years.
Also a researcher in Odissi with an interdisciplinary background, Rekha is the artistic director and co-founder of Dance Routes based at Skandavan, beside Auroville. Talking about what prompted her to write the book, she says, “I have been sharing my process with a broad spectrum of people including dancers and performing artists of different nationalities and backgrounds, therapists and others. It felt important to put it in a book to reach a wider audience.”
The book addresses the background and technique of the Odissi dance form. It describes Odissi’s mechanism for creating, dispersing and expressing energy as well as some early experiments in choreography. “Odishan folk performing arts and temple sculpture provided very important materials to create classical Odissi dance. The initial chapters discuss how this heritage was used by Odissi’s first gurus. The next few chapters examine Odissi’s movement technique from the perspective of Choreological Studies, which is an area within dance studies. This leads to the concluding chapters which look at the yogic and tantric legacy of Odissi, (which in fact, shares with all classical Indian dance techniques). The book suggests that if this is embraced consciously, it gives tradition vital relevance to life today,” quips the performer.