We caught up with professional dancer Aishwarya in Oman.
3 November 2014| Last updated on 10 September 2017
Odissi is one of the 8 ancient Indian classical dances. Odissi derives its name from the Indian state it originates from, Odisha. The postures and poses of Odissi can be traced back to the 12th century sculptures in the famous Konark and Puri temples in the state. Like all other Indian classical dances, Odissi, is an extension of yoga. Through this art, an Odissi dancer learns to balance a deep sense of spirituality, emotional stability and expression.
Deepam - Odissi Academy Muscat is a pioneer Indian classical dance school for Odissi in Oman. Founded in 1994, Deepam has continued to encourage young and talented dancers. I was one of the first students of Deepam during its initiation 20 years ago. My teacher, Guru Deepak Roy was a student of Padma Vibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra - a world renowned name in the field of Odissi.
Like all other Indian classical dances, Odissi, is an extension of yoga. An Odissi dancer learns to balance a deep sense of spirituality, emotional stability and expression through this art for.
The foundation of Odissi is based on 2 main postures: Chauka and Tribhangi
Chauka literally means square, which represents a completely stable structure like a table or chair with four legs. Stability cannot be attained with one, two or three legs – hence the name.
The word Tri-bhangi means three bends. The Tribhangi is a unique posture to Odissi dancing. This body form sets Odissi apart from all other classical dances of India. The body is divided into three parts making it graceful and sensuous.
Where are you originally from:
I am an Indian from the beautiful southern city of Bangalore.
How long have you been in Oman:
My parents moved to Oman couple of years before I was born. I did all of my schooling here before I left for University in the US. I then worked in India for a couple of years. I moved back to Oman when I got married 3 years ago.
What is your favorite thing about living in Oman:
Oman has always been home for me. The beaches, roads, cleanliness and most importantly the people of Oman are what make it so beautiful. There is a rich mix of cultures and diversity in Oman. People here have an opportunity to practice their beliefs and rituals without any restrictions and lots of people are very grateful for that.
What do you do for fun:
Well, I’m a dancer by profession so the lines between work and play are fuzzy. But I also love painting. My husband and I co-ordinate a walkers group called Jabber Walk. We pick different walking paths around the city and organize walks with our group.
How long do you plan to stay in Oman – where do you want to go after:
I quite enjoy living in Oman. I’ve found a creative space for myself and I am gradually connecting with more and more like minded people. As of now, I haven't found a reason to move from here. If I ever do, it will probably be India.
Have you found it easy to make friends:
Making friends isn't very easy in a place like this. I moved here to a large set of my husband’s friends who were of course very warm to me, but i think Oman needs more social spaces where people can meet and interact.
Are your friends mainly expats or are they a mix of locals and expats:
My friends' circle includes a good mix of expats and locals. What is beautiful about Oman is that there is a sense of acceptance in most people. I have found appreciation for my work amongst people of varied backgrounds
Where is your favorite place to go to on holiday:
Istanbul, Turkey. It's rich in art, history, culture and has the best food ever. Having grown up in Oman, I enjoy the Arab flavor in the air with a touch of European modernity.
What advice would you give to other dancers who are moving to Oman in order to further their career in Dance:
Oman is a country that is open to all cultures. It is however important to understand and respect the local norms and beliefs of this country. The society here is open to change and is always looking to broaden its perspectives. The rising number of yoga institutes, dance schools and galleries shows the progress that Oman has made in promoting the arts.