Supriya Nayak, ODISSI DANCER

About Supriya

Supriya Nayak is an Indian classical dancer who has practised Odissi, a dance from the eastern state of Odisha in India, for over twenty years. Supriya works with Odissi in traditional and non-traditional contexts, using the rich material of the form to present work that speaks to contemporary audiences. She has worked in collaboration with musicians and dancers for close to twenty years, and is experienced as a solo performer and with working in groups. Supriya brings to her work a deep understanding developed through years of practice and research into the movement, historical evolution, artistic influences, and music of Odissi as well as social and cultural contexts in Odisha. An understanding of her audience is one of Supriya’s strengths, developed through presenting performances, lecture- demonstrations, workshops, and teaching Odissi in India, South Africa, Canada, Indonesia, and other countries.

Supriya trained and worked in New Delhi, India under gurus Kiran Segal, Ambika Paniker and Aloka Panikar. She moved to Toronto, Canada in 2015-16. She is a scholarship holder for advanced training in dance at Pallavi Odissi Nritya Sangeet Vidyalaya (PONSV) under Kiran Segal from Sahitya Kala Parishad (Delhi Government) for the years 2004-06. She is also an accredited artist with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Doordarshan (India’s national television broadcaster).

Supriya’s dance is deeply influenced by her practice of the Alexander Technique and yoga. Supriya completed her BA (Hons) History from St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi (2001-04) and MA in Modern Indian History, University of Delhi (2004-06).

Performance

Supriya has been featured extensively within India at important dance festivals including the National Centre for Performing Arts (2011) and Nalanda Nrityotsava (2012), Mumbai; the Odisha Dance Academy (2011) and International Odissi Festival (2011, 2012), Bhubaneswar; Bharat Bhavan (2013), Bhopal; Ranan’s Ankur Festival (2007), Kolkata; and the LalitArpan Festival (2008), Delhi. She has been presented by some of India’s premier cultural bodies including the Sangeet Natak Akademi, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Sahitya Kala Parishad in solo Odissi prformances. Internationally, Supriya has performed and taught in Bangladesh (2007), Canada (2004 and 2015-present), China (2012), Indonesia (2013), Kazakhstan (2009) and South Africa (2010/11). As a member of Kiran Segal’s Pallavi Odissi dance company from 1999-2013, Supriya performed at the Konark Festival, Khajuraho Festival, Prithvi Theatre Festival, Siddhendra Yogi Mahotsav, Srikshetra Festival and many others.

In Toronto, Supriya has presented her work for Anandam Dancetheatre (2016/17), Sampradaya Dance Creations (2017), the Toronto Dance Community Love-In (2017), and danced in Brandy Leary’s choreographies ‘Water Portals’ (Nuit Blanche Toronto 2016) and ‘Ephemeral Artifacts’ (University of Toronto Art Museum 2017).

Teaching and research

Supriya taught Odissi at Kiran Segal's Pallavi Odissi Nritya Sangeet Vidyalaya from 2007 to 2013. She has worked extensively with school and college students in India through Spicmacay (Society for the promotion of Indian classical music and culture among youth), India’s leading student-run arts initiative, both as Kiran Segal’s assistant and as an independent artist. Other teaching assignments have included workshops for Sahitya Kala Parishad and Seher in Delhi, and ICCR, in India and internationally.

Her interest in pedagogy and history grew to include curriculum development for dance. She led a research and training project for the Gati Dance Forum, New Delhi, 2012-13. In 2016, Supriya was invited as visiting faculty to Ashoka University, Haryana, to teach a semester-long Introduction to Odissi course. Supriya taught at PONSV from 2007-1013. Supriya organised the seminar Pratibimb: a reflection on the Ananya Dance Festival (2012) for Seher, Delhi.

Selected reviews

‘…with an inner joy that communicates effectively, Supriya is one of those quietly captivating dancers.’ Leela Venkataraman, The Hindu, New Delhi, 30.9.2011

‘New star on the horizon.’ Time Out Delhi, September 2011

‘The lyrical beauty of the pure nritta (dance) was presented with chiselled mudra (gesture), bhangi (posture) and chhanda (rhythm).’ Meena Banerjee, The Hindu, New Delhi, 31.8.2007

‘Nayak…impressed with the precision of her movements and the purity of her dance diction.’ Kathakali Jana, Hindustan Times, Kolkata, 30.8.2007

Selected performances and teaching assignments