18 June, 2021

The Finer Side Of The Brain

One special child led her into a new world. She now teaches kids to express themselves through Odissi.

The Finer Side Of The Brain
Suffering from a hole in her heart, Alpana Nayak knew adversity first hand. It meant she would have to take a long break from her passion—Odissi. In 1996, after a successful heart surgery, she was back to dancing. But it was in 1999, on a posting abroad where her husband was pursuing a course at lse, that Alpana found there was more to Odissi than just dancing. It could be used as a medium for communication. "I was on a project with the Woolwich College, Greenwich University, teaching foreigners Hindi through performing arts. That’s where I found the confidence to use performing arts as a medium for imparting knowledge."

Cut to 2003, back in Ghaziabad, where she used to live, Alpana had a request from a neighbour which dramatically changed her life. "She asked me to teach her son Odissi. Only later did I get to know that her son was a special child." That is how she met Tanmay Aggarwal, by far her favourite and most talented student. "He had a congenital problem and a low IQ. But you should see his ability to grasp the intricacies of Odissi," she says. Her journey with...

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