Born and brought up in the eastern state of Odisha on July 1st 1980, she was initiated
to the art of Odissi when she was 7 years old under the guidance of Guru Gajendra
Panda and Guru Shree Sudhakar Sahu. Later she continued her learning under the
guidance of Guru Shree Dr. Manoj Kumar Behera and gained a thorough grounding
on Guru Shree Deba Prasad Das style, Guru Shree Kelu Charan Mohapatra style
and Guru Shree Pankaj Charan Das's style of Odissi. Her training in all the major
dance styles of Odissi has definitely helped her to understand the Odissi technique
better. She gained her MMus from Akhila Bharatiya Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya.
Her expose to western dance styles have given her an opportunity to understand "Dance" in its true
sense irrespective of their styles". All the experiences of teaching and performing in India and abroad
have certainly helped her to come up with an independent technique which is in fact is an exploration in
presentation of the movement with thorough enjoyment. She has earned a niche during the course of
her devotion to this art form. Hence she has felt the urge of establishing an institution more directly. She
is the founder and managing director of ?Dancing Dolls??A place for Dance. Her quest for enriching her
art with the technique, style, and philosophy in social context is the final goal of her life
Raman is one of the well-established artistes in the field today, part of a small group of
contemporaneous peers so recognized. She has wide range of teaching and performing experience in
this field both in India and USA. She has worked in schools, colleges, universities and also with public
and private organizations.
A friendly person loved by her students and liked by all, Raman focuses on molding budding talent to
professional standards of excellence, while at the same time pursuing her performing interests. She
also keeps abreast of traditional Odissi repertoire and contemporary trends, and as a consequence, is
frequently invited to conduct workshops, judge talent in competitions and provide lecture
The preparation of an annotated English translation of the "Mudra Viniyoga Prakriya"
was entrusted to me as early as 2012"by the author himself my Guru, Dr. Manoj Kumar
Behera. From my first serious acquaintance with dance as Guru Manoj Kumar Behera's
student, I was fascinated by the oral tradition of teaching Mudra Viniyoga. I wished to
document the oral pedagogy so that the ancient Mudra traditions can be preserved and also
be available to future students. Since my Guruji had published this book in Odiya language, I
thought of taking his work and translating it into English for a wider scope so that it could
reach dance lovers all over India and abroad.
However, I considered it my duty, A tribute to my Guru, to make a strenuous effort in
translating my teacher's knowledge. So, I proceeded patiently but steadily with the work and
finally finished the whole book at last. I am now genuinely happy to place it before the
I took the liberty to offer my own conclusions and interpretations here and there, as
necessitated by my experience in dance performance and dance teaching. But whatever
tentative transformations I have made, have been made after the utmost consideration and
with the expectation that they may prove helpful to others working in this field.
For the purpose of this translation, works of various scholars have been helpful to the
translator and have been acknowledged properly as needed. But amongst the scholars who
have influenced this translation, one who needs to be specially mentioned is, Eljay Arem, the
founder and host of IMC Radio Shows for Indian Music culture. Arem, who is from Germany,
is one of my good friends and has been there for me with excellent guidance from the
beginning to the end of this project.
I am greatly indebted to my mutual friend Aparna Gollapudi, Associate Professor, English
Department, Colorado State University, who read the original draft of present work and
made suggestions regarding the language. I also appreciate the suggestions of my esteemed
student, Dr. Madhavi, a Dental surgeon and content writer, for reading the proof. Going
through the introduction, and making invaluable suggestions.
I wish to mention here very gratefully the debt I owe to Aayu Publication in connection to
the preparation and publication of this work.
I am forever indebted to Roy Debashis, Founder and UX Architect at Huecoholic Design
Labs and professional Photographer for his wonderful photography. And not to forget ever I
thank from the bottom of my heart to all beautiful, energetic and extraordinary dancer's who
modelled for the demonstrational aspect of this book, Dr. Mythily Marrat Anoop in
Mohiniyattam style, Pujitha Krishna Jyoti in Vilasini Natyam, Sanjay Joshi in kathak, Vijay
Pathaloth in Kuchipudi, Pramod Kumar Ready in Bhratnatyam, Sabitri Mallik, Dharitri
Pradhan and Manoswini Mohanty in odissi.
Last but not least, it becomes my most cheerful duty to express my gratitude to my
husband, Mr. Venu Madhav Vuppala. Without his help and constant encouragement, this
project would have been a lot more arduous.
I also wish to acknowledge my six-year old daughter, Anshu Madhav, who has
brightened my toughest days of dancing or writing with her loving smile. The constant love
and support of my family has gladdened my heart and strengthened my resolve throughout
the writing of this book.
Today Classical Indian dance forms have established a place for themselves on the world
stage because of their beauty and grace. The intricate foot work, colorful costumes, isolation
of the torso and lower half of the body, facial expressions and use of Mudras with the dance
movements has created a unique identity for Indian dance forms in the world of dance. This
book deals with the use of Mudras in Indian dance and offers a systematic interpretation of
their various intricacies. Though my analysis of Mudras is based on their use in Odissi today,
these gestures are not very different from those used in other Indian Classical dance styles.
The composition of dance depends on the use of Mudras. Mudra plays the crucial role of
language both in pure dance and Abhinaya. If the use of Mudra changes in a dance sequence
then the meaning changes. When meaning changes the state of mind or the emotions
represented in the performance changes.
This phenomenon has been limited to passing the knowledge from the Gurus to their pupil.
Until this present work, there was no written form of instruction about Mudras available in
English. All the Indian classical dance styles to a large extent follow the Mudras described by
Acharya Nandikeswara in his Sanskrit treatise "Abhinaya Darpana". The absence of
documentation regarding systematic use of Mudras in dance has been causing a gradual
deterioration in the composition of dance.
My guru, Dr. Manoj Kumar Behera, has been an examiner of dance student's performances in
different colleges and universities of dance. He has found very poor performance of Mudra
Interpretation. He felt that due to lack of proper documentation, the execution of Mudra
Interpretation has suffered. There are no clear and dependable guidelines about the process
of Mudra interpretation. Dr. Behera met many dance Gurus and professional dancers to
discuss about this matter. He found that everyone had had the same thoughts about the
derioration in Mudra performance. The scope of Dance and Abhinaya is not limited. In one
Abhinaya, one single Mudra can be interpreted many different ways. But its appropriate use
should be regulated.
When my guru himself was learning from Guru Deba Prasad Das, he used to ask and learn
again and again from his Guruji about a particular Mudra interpretation. But this is not
possible all the time in the present times. For this reason Dr. Behera always felt that there is a
serious need for a book about the process of Mudra Interpretation.
After his PHD research, with the help of different Odiya, English and Sanskrit dictionaries he
could pen this simple book of Mudra Viniyog.
In Utkal Sangeet Maha Vidyalaya,' where my Guruji studied, Mudra Interpretation was
taught by Guru Shree Dr. Deba Prasad Das. That is why in his educational method the
interpretation of Mudra was used for pure dance and Abhinaya choreography, which proved
to be an important influence in Dr. Behera's book Mudra Viniyog. In this regard Guru
Mayadhara Rout's contribution is also greatly significant.
My Guru, Guru shree Dr. Manoj Kumar Behera, during his PHD research came across with
the treatise "Abhinaya Darpanaprakasha," written by Jadunath Singh Mahapatra.
According to Dr. Manoj Kumar Behera, it has some differences with the Mudras described in
"Abhinaya Darpana". However, there were not too many differences in the way Mudras are
used. The various meanings a particular Mudra can be employed to convey are what Mudra
interpretation is all about. The features of Mudras are mentioned in few manuscripts but
when it comes to their interpretation there is a difference. This is because; the interpretation
of Mudra depends on the particular region, time and culture. What a particular Mudra means
and how it can be employed to convey specific sentiments vary. Furthermore, there may be
difference in the opinion of different dance scholars and researchers about the interpretation
**Contents and Sample Pages**
North Indian Music (289)
Original Texts (60)
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