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Odissi dance
 
Hindu Goddess. Photography by Richard Gabbert, Odissi dance, 2008; Ranjanaa Devi; Amherst, Massachusetts;
Hindu Goddess. Photography by Richard Gabbert, Odissi dance, 2008
Ranjanaa Devi
Amherst, Massachusetts
 
 
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Ranjanaa Devi
Hadley, MA
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Ranjanaa Devi has continued her practice of the classical Indian dance style called Odissi, since moving to the United States in 1970. Some believe this ancient dance style may be the earliest recorded form of Indian dance. The Odissi dance style is characterized by fluidity of the upper torso with strong base in rhythmic cycles of footwork, triple bend positions, and eloquent hand gestures.

Devi received her training in dance under several of India's great gurus, most notably, the Kathakali master Guru Gopinath, from whom she learnt choreographic and dance theater techniques. As is customary, Devi was a devoted student and became a part of her teacher's extended family, maintaining lifelong contact and caring the knowledge handed down to her.

In 1982, Devi founded the non-profit, Nataraj Performing Arts of India, to promote the performing arts of India. She teaches a variety of folk and classical Indian dance traditions, including Odissi, Kathakali, and Bharatnatyam. In addition to her dance qualifications, Devi also holds graduate degrees in Indian music and musicology from Delhi University, India and has studied temple rituals and texts as they relate to dance and prayer. In 2008, Ranjanaa Devi was named an MCC Finalist in the Traditional Arts. In 2008, Ranjanaa Devi was named an MCC Finalist in the Traditional Arts.
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