Priya Bangal, a 2019 recipient of a Traditional Arts Apprenticeship award to work with master artist Shipra Mehrotra in Odissi dance, recently shared how their work together moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
My daily practice moved from a large rented studio to a small area of the dining room at home… But the slowdown of pace and shift to the virtual realm opened new learning opportunities that I am very grateful for. These have included study of newer body conditioning techniques for Odissi dance, study of Odissi taal (rhythm) and Hindustani vocal music.
However, the highlight of the year 2020 for me has been learning and practicing Shankarabharanam Pallavi, a classic from the Odissi repertoire. The musical appeal of this timeless melody and a dance so harmonious with it, evokes the very essence of Odissi dance in it’s most distilled form. While daily practice demands rigor and regimen, this joyful dance has gently pushed me to try to dance beyond self-imposed limitations of technique and discipline. To ‘feel’ the music and let myself be a channel for its expression. It is a great privilege to have access to the genius of the great masters through these timeless choreographies. I am very thankful to my teacher, Shipra Mehrotra, for her generosity in teaching me this treasured dance in painstaking detail.
See excerpts from Priya Bangal’s performance of Shankarabharanam Pallavi
Image and media: Odissi dancer Priya Bangal, photo by Andrew Milia; excerpts from Priya Bangal’s performance of Shankarabharanam Pallavi.