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Accepted Paper:

Virtual and physical ways of being present in Odissi dance networks in Bhubaneswar in India  
Barbara Curda (UCA (université Clermont Auvergne), France, IFP (Institut Français de Pondichéry), India)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines virtual and embodied modes of presence of Odissi dance schools in the Eastern Indian town Bhubaneswar in the early 2020ies. It assesses the differences in the sensory responses they initiate, and their relation to the present social scape of Odissi in this geographical location.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines different modalities of presence of schools of Odissi dance - a practice officially considered to be one of the “classical dances of India” - in the Eastern Indian town Bhubaneswar.

In my recent ethnography in this town, from September 2021 onwards, I used the Internet as well as physical visits to school locations as complementary tools for assessing Odissi dance activity in the city in the early 2020ies.

Odissi dance schools are present both in virtual and physical spaces: in discourses on notoriety, in the geographical space of the rapidly spreading town – at its margins and at its center – in the topography of google maps, on websites.

During my inquiries, the differences between these modes of presence initiated in me very different sensory responses. Common discourses on the greatness of the tradition may stand in stark contrast to the precarious aspects and/or environments of some of the actual physical schools. Furthermore, these narrative constructions are not perceivable through Internet tools such as google maps, while they may be underlined on the websites of individual schools. On the other side, presences on the web are not always consistent with presences in the actual physical space of the town.

What do these varied, sometimes contradictory, modalities of presence reveal on the existences and existential struggles of Odissi dance practitioners? Do new modes of being present contribute to reshuffling the previously prevalent social order of Odissi dance networks, or on the contrary reinforce it?

Panel P111a
Being there - but how? On the transformation of presences I
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -