Exploring Indian Dance For Actors

During the first hour of this immersive 4-Week course, participants will explore the elements, technique, and expressive vocabulary of Odissi, one of India’s neo-classical dances. The form is known for its percussive footwork paired with curving movements and sculpturesque poses. Students will explore Odissi technique, form and vocabulary. Through excerpts from pure dance choreographies (Pallavi) and variations on walking and traveling, they will refine movement, transitions and develop a stronger awareness of framing and placement within the Odissi aesthetic. Anindita Nanda, one of the most accomplished Odissi dancers in the world will also touch upon history and cultural context. Students will dance barefoot.

Following the classical dance we will kick it up a notch and indulge in learning the various aspects of Bollywood dance. Bollywood Dance is a mix of dance styles performed in Bollywood films, including traditional Indian styles of Bharatanatyam, Kathak, folk styles, bhangra, garba and modern dances. A vibrant and entertaining dance that is suitable for beginners. It gives a whole body workout while dancing to the rhythm of joy with the powerful nature of Bollywood music. We will be working on learning the different routines set to variety of bollywood music and rhythms and will also explore the different regional flavors of India. Students dance barefoot or with dance socks.

At the end of this 4 Weeks Course, there will be an intimate presentation, where students will showcase what they have learned to an audience filled with family and friends. All levels welcome.

What is Odissi?

Odissi is an Indian Classical dance form originating from the state of Odisha, in India and dates back to the 2nd century in its origin and antiquity. It is an ancient, breathtakingly beautiful form of sacred dance, which was originally performed in temples as a worship ritual. Highly stylized in nature, it utilizes powerful, energetic footwork with graceful postures and movements to create an illusion of sculpture coming to life. Handed down from teacher to disciple for thousands of years, Odissi emphasizes, and in fact, centers around spirituality and devotion. The practice of this dance form rejuvenates the body, refreshes the mind and creates a positive energy.

4 Week Indian Dance Class For Actors

Week 1


  • Basic steppings of Odissi
  • Tribhani and Chouka forms – basic stances
  • Feet positions, walks, spins, concept of movements specific to the style, spatial divisions
  • Eye, Neck, Head movements
  • History and evolution of the classical dances of India
  • Basic knowledge about the 8 different classical dance styles.


    • Fundamentals steps and movement
    • Working on a routine based on a bollywood semi-classical song
    • Introduction to the different popular and folk dance styles
    • Working on a routine based on a popular bollywood song

Week 2


  • Advanced steppings of Odissi, stances, postures.
  • Hand gestures called Mudras, arm positions and torso movements
  • Choreography from the repertoire which has a sloka or hymn to Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles


    • Advanced steps and movement
    • Working on a routine based on a bollywood semi-classical song
    • Continue Working on a routine based on a popular bollywood song
    • Basics of Bhangra, Garba and Lavni – folk style

Week 3


  • Continue working on the Choreography
  • Learn the Guru Mantra, a sloka showing the meaning of a true Guru.
  • Facial expressions or Bhavas and Rasa’s
  • Exploration of the mythological stories and characters commonly used in Indian Classical dances
  • Nayaka and Nayika Veda – concept of the male and female and the different kind of men and women characterizations in Indian classical dances..
  • Creative work – Music will be provided to the student to exercise this opportunity to apply the basic training the will gain throughout the training and they can showcase this experience at the Presentation in Week 4


    • Advanced steps and movements
    • Working on a routine based on a bollywood semi-classical song
    • Continue Working on a routine based on a popular bollywood song
    • Basics of Folk dances from East of India
    • Creative work – Music will be provided, to give the student the opportunity to apply the basic training and they can showcase this at the Presentation in Week 4

Week 4

Odissi/ Bollywood First Hour

  • Revision of the course work for both Classical and Bollywood
  • Work on finishing the choreography from the weeks before in both discipline

Grand Finale Presentation

    • Student performances of the choreography learned in class
    • Student presentation of their creative pieces
    • Light refreshments will be provided (Indian snacks)

Costumes will be used for the Final presentation

Who is this dance class for?

Our dance lessons are for actors and non-actors coming from all walks of life, those looking to gain insight into the vocabulary of the ancient arts which shaped all modern creative dances. Exploring the bollywood dances as well.

Dance in the ancient times was a part of theater and an insightful knowledge of this, will enhance a complete understanding of the arts. It also helps on building confidence, strengthening bodies, mind, improved body control, build an understanding of rhythm, choreography and improving the sense of timing.  All the while, working on different styles of Indian dance including classical, folk and bollywood..

Students who can benefit from this course:

  • Students from any level of theater and dance, interdisciplinary
  • Aspiring actors and dancers
  • Actors looking to refresh their skills
  • Students wanting to have total body conditioning
  • Adults from ages 18 – 70
  • Performing artists
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Expected Outcome:

  1. Understanding of the ancient arts its history and evolution and current form. As well understanding of the modern styles of dance from India.
  2. Improve posture, sense of movements, rhythm and space. There are very few dance styles that involve so many parts of the body at once. Indian classical and folk dances do that, so you can be prepared to grasp any style, once you have dedicated yourself to some form of Indian classical dance.
  3. There are a lot of dances and exercises out there that help you lose weight instantly. But when you practice Indian classical dance forms, you not only build muscle strength and endurance, but also learn to breathe better. It’s all about breath – are you out of breath as soon as you take a few steps? That should change once you join dance class.
  4. In your daily life, you feel anger, sadness, happiness, love, excitement and so on; Indian classical dances give you a cathartic release of these emotions. While performing several emotional roles, you will start understanding the connection between emotions – mind and body. This will help you in observing your emotions better, and then of course, you will stop reacting and start acting productively.
  5. Spiritual growth and awareness. The amazing part about Indian classical dances is that they give you an understanding of the body to release you from the body.
  6. Bhangra and Garba are very popular folk styles and you will be able to show your new moves at any dance party.
  7. And finally all these dances are about communicating experiences or ‘rasa’ and the first person you would communicate that with, is yourself. So once you are thorough with the basics, you are already beyond the body!

Upcoming Classes:

The Exploring Indian Dance for Actors is a 4 Week course. See below for more details on price for the entire course, dates, and times of each session. All classes are held in Manhattan.

Exploring Indian Dance For Actors

Register today for our Spring 2019 classes:

April 13th, April 20th, May 11th, May 19th 


4:00pm – 6:00pm


Pearl Studio
500 8th Avenue – 12th Floor
New York, NY 10015





About the instructor

Anindita Anu Nanda is an exponent of Odissi and intensively trained under the lineage of the legendary Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, in India. She has a Masters in Indian Classical Dance and Vocal Music and is the recipient of several titles in India like NrityaShree, Nritya Siromani, high honors for dancers in India. For over 15 years she has been working to promote the dance through concerts, workshops, and lecture-demonstrations.

A much sought-after touring artist, Anindita is regularly presented by Embassies, Museums, Universities, Libraries, Schools and Cultural Institutions across the United States, Europe, and India. She is the founder and director of SoorTaal, which was created for the promotion and preservation of Odissi.

Anindita is also on the board of the World Heritage Cultural Center and continues to contribute through her work in preserving and promoting World cultures. She continues her work in establishing Odissi in the US and abroad. This is her third time coming back to teach and perform.

Anindita Nanda Bollywood Odissi Indian Dance instructor