Online Compendium

This website is the online compendium of my dissertation that accompanies the written complement. Here, I curate my creative research praxis that combines dance studies, technology studies, poststructuralist theory, and religious studies. In this platform, I document my process of surfacing Mahari dancing via a creative reimagining in ritual performance, choreography, and 3D animation.

Posing Amongst Sculptures in Rajarani Temple. Picture By Debojyoti Dhar.

Playing a String Instrument. Picture By Debojyoti Dhar.

My PhD thesis called Mahari Out: Deconstructing Odissi that investigates, surfaces, and recreates the historically marginalized Mahari dancing tradition by deconstructing the contemporary performance of Odissi. Odissi is an eastern Indian classical dance form that marginalizes the Mahari at the same time that it draws upon the mystic aura of Mahari ritual dancing in the Hindu temples of Odisha. It has appropriated Mahari dancing and has never acknowledged the artistic and creative contributions of the tradition that lasted for over a millennium. My dissertation critically reflects on an Indian classical dance tradition from an embodied perspective while simultaneously redefining embodiment via an intermodal inquiry across historical, sculptural, digital, ritualistic, and performative mediation. Second, I lay a novel methodological foundation within the emerging interdisciplinary movement of Practice-as-Research. Third, dance practice contributes theoretically towards ritual transgression, queer sexuality, poststructuralist deconstruction, and technological mediation. The deconstruction of my Odissi practice is delineated in my methodology section.