Dasavatar (Dance)

“The form of dance I learned, Odissi, is heavily dependent on telling stories through dance and music. One of the final pieces I learned and performed was Dasavatar, which is the story of the ten incarnations of our savior. He comes in the form of a fish, a turtoise, a boar, a half man/half lion hybrid, a dwarf, a killer with an axe, a king, Krishna, Buddha, and a man on a white horse which is yet to come at the end of this era. This story shows the immense power of our God and his ability to change and adapt in the ways we need him. It was easier for me to learn various stories through dancing and acting them rather than hearing them because now they are all experiences I’ll never forget.”

The informant grew up doing this dance along with others, and she still participates in them in college. It’s a way for her to stay connected to her childhood and her heritage in an active way. The dance is also important for her connection to her religion. For her, dancing is much easier to engage with as opposed to reading a religious text or listening to a speech. As the informant says, her participation is very important in the value of every dance. Learning the different parts of the dance also signifies her maturity and mastery because each different part, or incarnation, is difficult to learn and requires a lot of practice.