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Shibani Patnaik is one of the leading United States-born Odissi classical dancers of her generation. She has taught Odissi, an Indian classical dance form, through the Center for World Music’s Odissi Dance School in California since 2003. As the daughter of Dr. Purna and Mrs. Gopa Patnaik, Shibani embarked on her dance journey at an early age. Her parents have been committed to the preservation and promotion of Indian classical arts for the past thirty years through the Center for World Music, providing many opportunities for their three daughters to immerse themselves in classical dance and music. Because of the support of her parents and the encouragement and rigorous training by her mentors, Shibani is flourishing as one of the leading dancers of her generation. She is an energetic artist with a strong technical background who strikes the perfect combination of power and grace.

Odissi requires perseverance, precision and performance; it is not merely a form of entertainment, but also a method through which the artist strives to forge a deep spiritual connection with the audience. Shibani believes art and music bring people of diverse cultures together by providing cultural understanding in a harmonious environment. Through dance, Shibani strives to express deep feelings and emotions, universal to humanity. Shibani is dedicated to the diffusion of the message of peace and compassion through her artistic expression.

Shibani has made frequent visits to India to study under internationally acclaimed Gurus Padmashree Gangadhar Pradhan, Aruna Mohanty, Manoranjan Pradhan and Yudhistir Nayak from the Orissa Dance Academy. Her gurus have also lived with the Patnaik family in San Diego for extended periods of time, helping Shibani master the techniques of Odissi. Shibani frequently tours with the Orissa Dance Academy. She completed a solo North America multi-city tour in 2012, presenting her own work Samsara: The Cycle Of Life.

India - Odissi Dance Video LinkShibani was awarded the 2006 Devadasi award in Orissa. Shibani and her sisters Shalini and Laboni, “The Patnaik Sisters,” have been honored with the Kalashree Award by the Orissa Society of Americas for their contribution to the arts. The California Arts Council has awarded a Next Generation Artists grant to Shibani for new choreographies. She has performed in prestigious venues throughout India, including the 2007 Konark Dance Festival and at the Ravi Shankar Institute in New Delhi. In 2008, she performed at the International Stirring Odissi Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Shibani and her sisters contributed their Odissi-style choreography to productions by pop stars Madonna (1998 MTV Video Music Awards) and Ricky Martin (2007), performances seen by millions around the world. Stanford University presented Shibani with the 2001 Asian-American Performing Arts Award and the Chapell-Lougee Scholarship to conduct research in Orissa. Under her leadership, the Stanford University Dance department began offering Indian classical dance courses in 2002, where she taught the first course on Odissi.

Shibani has been featured in numerous US and Indian publications, such as Dance Magazine of New York, Yoga Journal, Hinduism Today, India Today, InStyle, and Bazaar. She is an active member of the Board of Directors of the Center for World Music.

See a video of Shibani’s performance in the virtual Udayraga Festival of Dance in August, 2020, presented by the Indo American Association, Houston in collaboration with Orissa Dance Academy.

To learn more, please visit Shibani’s website.

Sri Rudraprasad Swain

This month we say farewell to Sri Rudraprasad Swain, our resident teacher for the past six months from the Orissa Dance Academy in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. His presence in the Center for World Music’s Odissi Dance School will be deeply missed.

Sri Rudraprasad Swain began study of Odissi dance at a tender age of five. At age fifteen he joined the Orissa Dance Academy and trained under legendary Guru Gangadhar Pradhan. He was further refined into a versatile and dynamic dancer under Guru Smt. Aruna Mohanty. He has participated in prestigious programs around the world—in Thailand, Germany, Europe, and United States—his most memorable performance being at the International Odissi Festival.

During his second residency with the Center for World Music Sri Rudraprasad Swain directed performances and workshops across San Diego County. He taught over forty students ages 5-50.  He produced fourteen performances and two workshops, spreading his passion for Odissi through the classroom and on the stage.  He challenged his students and gave them the confidence to learn Odissi and perform on stage both in solo and group programs.

On behalf of the Odissi Dance School, we wish Sri Rudraprasad Swain farewell and a special thank you for his dedication and commitment, for sharing his passion for Odissi with his students, and for giving us the opportunity to learn a beautiful dance form. We hope that, as he continues his journey in dance as a teacher and performer, his dreams come true. We look forward to his return for another residency.

See Sri Rudraprasad Swain perform on YouTube.

– Reni Biswas, Program Coordinator of the CWM Odissi Dance School

Shalini Patnaik

Center for World Music teaching artist Shalini Patnaik enjoys sharing her ancient art form with the San Diego community. She is one of the leading exponents in her generation of Odissi, the classical dance of northeastern India, and has a passion for teaching and sharing Indian culture through the language of dance. Born and raised in San Diego, California, she traveled repeatedly to India from a young age to learn the art form directly from dance masters in Orissa. Even today, she visits frequently for further training and performances.

Her teachers include the late Guru Gangadhar Pradhan and Gurus Aruna Mohanty, Manoranjan Pradhan, and Yudhistir Nayak.

Shalini and her sisters, together known as the “Patnaik Sisters,” were selected by pop superstar Madonna to choreograph and perform for a televised performance at the 1998 MTV Music Awards. She also choreographed for singer Ricky Martin’s 2006 tour. Shalini performed for Pandit Ravi Shankar’s 90th birthday celebration and for other superstars like George Harrison and Sting. Recently, Shalini was invited by Anoushka Shankar to perform as part of her “Traveler” tour.

While Shalini has enthralled audiences across the globe, she truly enjoys sharing her art form with fellow San Diegans, and especially with students.

Shalini and her sisters, Laboni and Shibani, have been instrumental in propagating Odissi throughout North America through performances, lecture demonstrations at universities, schools, and libraries, and teaching in the Center for World Music’s Odissi School. To share their passion for dance with others brings them immense joy; in doing so, they help preserve and propagate this rich, two-thousand-year-old cultural tradition outside of India.

 

Want to learn more?

Traditional dance helps keep sisters in touch with culture, The Coast News (2012)
She matches steps in India and beyond, The Telegraph (2012)

Shibani Patnaik is a distinguished Odissi dancer, member of the Patnaik Sisters, and Board Member for the Center for World Music.

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