Sarala Dandekar has studied and performed classical Indian dance since childhood. She received intensive training in Odissi from Guru Jhelum Paranjape (Bombay) and additional training from the late Kelucharan Mohapatra, in his village in Bubaneswar, Orissa.
Since 1991, Sarala Dandekar has performed and taught throughout the world, as a soloist in traditional performances as well as working with various dance troupes from the United States, Canada and India.
In 1998 Sarala received her Master's Degree in Dance Ethnology at York University, Toronto. She has presented scholarly work at international dance conferences and written work is published in several dance journals, academic texts and is the recipient of nuemerous art grants.
In addition to classical dance workshops and cultural education programs, Sarala performs classical choreography and explores principles of sacred geometry, yoga asana and contemporary themes in
the spirit of creative exploration with dancers from around the world.
Sarala currently resides in Maui, Hawaii.
Odissi, one of the classical Indian dance forms, originated in Orissa, northeastern India. Odissi was born in the temple of Lord Jagannath, “Lord of the Universe,” and was danced by Maharis, the temple dancers. When the temple system came under threat, the dance form was transplanted to the villages and performed by young boys called Gotipua. In late 40s, gurus revived Odissi, and over time, it has found new life on the stages of India and around the world. Odissi blends tandava (masculine energies) and lasya (feminine energies) through fluid hand, eye and torso movements, and exciting rhythmic footwork.