I have been
diving deep into Odissi dance. It is ancient temple dance. A dance
of devotion created and performed for the gods. It is beautiful and
intricate and even people who have been studying it after 20 years
are still considered beginners. It is the oldest classical dance
form of India with written documentation of it dating back over
2000 years to 1 B.C.. I have begun an incredible journey. I am
dancing 5-7 hours a day. It has had an incredible impact on
quieting my mind, improving my posture, and increasing my own
self-discipline. I have exercises and choreography in the morning,
rhythm and music theory in the afternoon, mudra class (!!!!! This
makes me so happy), then followed by choreography recap. I make a
point in my down time to then study my own movement practices. I
have been alternating between tribal fusion bellydance technique,
working on my 3 hoop separations ( one on your chest or above in
the hand, one on your waist, one on your knees) and I hope to have
a day where I work on contact juggling out on the beach ( a long
time and long term goal for myself). This Friday I get to take a
Persian dance class on Sufi Whirling (!!!! This is also very
exciting for me)! The lessons Odissi is teaching me are grand and
of great importance. Some of them i surely wont even recognize
until I have left. Part of my intention for this trip was to
receive. To be open not only to learning new things but to retain
them. It has been a while since I have undertaken the serious role
of “student” and I am loving it!! The ashram where I am staying is
also a tantric yoga teacher training program. It has been a nice
mix of dance and yoga creating a complete practice. Everyone
attending the program is super nice and inclusive. I Also join them
for their lectures on metaphysics, Hinduism, the history of India,
and the history of yoga which have all been a complimentary study
to the ancient history of Orisa (where Odissi was born). Through
studying this ancient dance form I have enjoyed recognizing that so
many other forms of movement have all built their practice from
this ancient foundation. I look forward to discovering all the
lessons yet to unfold. Bless!! -=ali*<

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