Indian Classical

A Portuguese passion for Odissi

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02 Sep 2020  |   04:01am IST

A Portuguese passion for Odissi

A Portuguese national, she has devoted her life to the Odissi dance form and popularising Indian culture, she has set up a Gurukul in Goa and has plans to establish another one in Lisbon

Team Herald

The intricacies and charm of Indian classical dance has fans all over the place. Many visit India and learn and others do so with Indian teachers living abroad. Chantelle Gomez an Odissi dancer from Portugal has her Gurukul in Harmal-Pednem. Also known as Tara, she has great passion for the culture of India and apart from Odissi is also interested in Kathak dance, Indian folk dances, Hindustani classical music, yoga, spirituality, festivals and festivities of India.

 Having dedicated her life to dance, she has travelled all over the country visiting most of the cultural hubs. Her dedication to her art has to be seen to be believed and she is focused on spreading the beauty of Indian classical dance to the world. Due to the Corona pandemic, she is finding it challenging to work out the economics of her Gurukul. However, her persistence is commendable. 

Speaking about her journey though Odissi dance she said it was a spontaneous encounter with nothing really planned. She said “I had just completed yoga training and wanted to dance. A friend suggested an Odissi dance class and I went. It was love at first site”. Her decision to come to India was guided by her motivation to learn yoga. She said it was her dream to travel to India and the time was right, she packed her life in Lisbon and flew to India. She said “I always knew deep in my heart that I would end up in India”. Her first Odissi Guru was Padma Charan Dehury and his son Nirod Dehury. She then spent 8 years training under Guru Smt. Kasturi Pattanaik. She now trains under Sharon Lowen. However as she puts it her true guru is Prof. Ranjana Shrivastava an exponent in Kathak. She said “I’m not a Kathak dancer but I train occasionally. Guru Ranjana Ji teaches me the transcendence in Indian Dance.  Her life has been dedicated to dance and before she moved to learning Indian classical art forms she had trained in modern dance and ballet when she was a young girl.

Now based in Goa her Gurukul is at the Samata Retreat Centre outside Arambol, she said “ Narthaki, Performing Arts Center is a vision I’ve always had since  settling in Goa. I wanted to create a learning & training center for   Indian Classical Arts in North Goa but with a visionary approach. We offer programs that include Odissi Dance and Music, Martial Arts, Folk, Modern and Fusion Dance workshops. The vision is to create a holistic and contemporary approach to learning the Arts in a prime Nature setting.  It’s still a baby flower that needs a lot of nourishment”. She promotes its by talking to people , using social media, mailing Lists and organizing events abroad to invite students to India. She has ‘Jiya, Festival of India’, in Lisbon a weekend event that promotes Indian Classical Art with the support of the Asian Art Museum in Lisbon and the Embassy of India in Lisbon. She intends to open a Gurukul in Lisbon.

Asked what her message to Indian youngsters would be she said it would be to never let go of their dreams and to do everything to live the truth and the purpose in life.   

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