Guru Vijay Shanker
Mumbai-based Odissi dancer Sakshi Kale is all set to make her debut as a professional Odissi dancer on July 2 at the Mysore Association auditorium, Matunga. The Manch Pravesh is organised by Nrityavan Odissi Academy, headed by accomplished Odissi exponent and mentor, Guru Mitali Raul. Sakshi has been passionately associated with Odissi for more than a decade and is quite excited about her debut performance. The repertoire of the performance would include traditional Odissi numbers, Odia compositions and some innovative numbers as well. It’s a dream come true for the young and hardworking Sakshi as it was not easy for her to pursue her passion, due to certain personal problems but ultimately her dream will be fulfilled due to her will power, determination and divine grace.
Sakshi did her schooling from Singapore International School, where she studied in the IB curriculum with subjects that included History and Environmental Science. During her formative years she attended Ascend International School and Bombay Scottish School, Powai. But throughout her schooling, with changing curriculums, friends and teachers, the one thing that stayed common was her love for Odissi and her performances at school events. She has had the opportunity to perform at the opening ceremony of the TEDxYouth Event at Singapore International, as well as several talent shows and competitions.
The young dancer plans to pursue International Development and History at the University of Toronto and aspires to be a journalist while practicing dance. Some of her notable performances have been at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival and Marico Evenings in Mumbai, besides several fundraisers and charity events to raise money for different causes.
By performing traditional Odissi items choreographed by the doyen of Odissi, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, she takes the audience through the journey of Odisha through the beauty and grace of the temple dance form.
Apart from dance, her other interests include writing – poems, articles, blogs etc. She is also associated with Elaria Foundation that works for animals.
Dance has taught Sakshi discipline and dedication, which she has been able to apply to different parts of her life as well. It has not been all about just one goal – the manch pravesh – but about the small moments in practices and rehearsals with her fellow students that have led her here. Lastly, dance will always remain an emotional connection to her mother – the very reason she began dancing in the first place.
Says her mentor Guru Mitali Raul, “Students like Sakshi are hard to come by. In spite of several problems, her devotion to Odissi is remarkable. She lost her mother some years back but it was her desire that Sakshi should learn Odissi which made the girl do it.”
Guru Vijay Shanker is a professional Kuchipudi-Kathakali exponent, teacher, choreographer and an actor. He is also an art critic and has been contributing to national and international publications for over four decades.
His lecture-demonstrations on Indian classical dancing for educational institutions and social organisations
is a fine combination of education and entertainment. Connect with him at [email protected]