Odissi Diploma Program

Odissi Diploma Program Overview

The Odissi Diploma Program is designed as a 5 year program which will culminate with students earning a Diploma from Shakti School of Dance. Through the defined yearly course work, students will travel a path towards the diploma with a peer group, finding companionship and support from a group of fellow students.

The Odissi Diploma Program is a year round program which is both a technical and theoretical study of Odissi performance technique, repertoire choreography and artistry. The program is designed for the dancer who has encountered Odissi dance and desires to pursue a well defined path of study towards mastery, whether it be for personal enrichment or to become a performing professional.

Each calendar year includes 500 hours of structured study to include: 250 hours of live training during the annual training seasons. Additionally there are 250 hours of online study, group projects and practice sessions, reading and writing assignments and logged self-practice hours. Students will be expected to develop a regular dance practice regimen and incorporate the program’s lifestyle teachings such as establishing regularity in their yoga and dance practices.

The majority of the training hours (approximately 2 months per year) will be spent immersed in the temple environment of the Rang Nath Venu Gopal temple which houses our school. This unique environment offers students the opportunity to directly experience cultural and spiritual elements which have formed Odissi dance throughout its evolutions.

Live trainings include 4 classes per day (Monday through Saturday) of 1 hour each and include: Vinyasa Krama Yoga, Stepping and Techniques, Repertoire and Theory Class, while online classes are held thrice weekly and are condensed within 2 hours.

This program’s unique focus differs from casual workshop enrollment in its emphasis on year round study, one to one support, teacher and peer feedback, group work, critical thinking projects, as well as the collaborative creation of archive material and special research trips throughout India. By earning this degree, students will be well on their way to being effective, prepared and knowledgeable dance practitioners, teachers and leaders in the dance world.

The Odissi Diploma Program is currently on hold, please email us if you are interested in the program.


(Example year 1)

Laying the foundations for a strong future in classical Indian dance, Year 1 curriculum will focus on memorization and application of dance vocabulary, terms and concepts as defined in Odissi’s primary reference texts (Abhinaya Darpana, Natya Shastra and Odissi Pathfinder). Students will discover how to establish good study habits and lifestyle practices to support their unfoldment in Odissi.

Yoga class will initiate students into crucial methods of concentration, experiencing subtle body connections and breath awareness. Odissi dance technique classes in Year 1 focus on alignment and cover primary strength training exercises and fundamental training sequences which build in complexity.  After establishing basic stepping practices, in Quarter 3-4 students will be initiated into Odissi choreography through either Hari Om or Nomami Mangalacharan.

Theory Classes will welcome and inspire students into the vast field of study in Indian classical arts. Theory discussions will cover Odissi’s most fundamental concepts and vocabulary working mainly with memorization and correct execution.  Additionally, the student’s knowledge is stimulated with an understanding of the social and historical context within which Odissi has been created and is currently experienced.

Instructional Methods

The Odissi Diploma Program’s unique focus differs from casual workshop enrollment in its emphasis on year round study, regular practice and lifestyle teachings, one to one support, teacher and peer feedback, group work, critical thinking projects, as well as the collaborative creation of archive material with your peer group.

Technique classes focusing on precision, alignment, coordination and strength

  • Choreography classes focusing on technique, vocabulary, expression and musicality
  • Theory classes in lecture format, forum discussion and group work
  • Assigned reading from provided articles (found in Google Drive Folder)
  • Article reviews (handed in through Google Drive)
  • Theory lectures (notes will be handed in as your “Odissi Notebook”)
  • Reflective journal writing (handed in in through Google Drive)
  • Group practice sessions and study labs with peer group
  • Group and partner presentations
  • Quarterly ‘Office Hours’ with your teacher to discuss progress

Program Structure

(2020 Program)

  • Time commitment: 500 + hours per year
  • 250 + hours of classroom training time at Shakti School of Dance in Pushkar, India or Shakti Summer School Greece
  • 250 + hours of logged practice hours, online study, project work, reading assignments, reports, group work, performance reviews and exams.
  • Assignments & Exams are given Quarterly
  • Shakti School of Dance Diploma of Odissi Dance is earned over 5 years at the successful completion of all coursework and exams.

Program Duration – 5 years:

Through the duration of the 5 year diploma program, coursework will vary and evolve every year as students progress. Year 1-2 focuses on mastery of foundational knowledge and techniques.  Year 3-4 focuses on advancing complexities of Odissi through choreography and music studies as well as adding academic research trips to Orissa and possibly other parts of India. Year 5 the student will turn more to critical application of knowledge, stage performance skills, cultural preservation and dissemination through teaching and performance. Student’s commitment is on a year to year basis (please see attendance and deferral policy) with an annual subsidiary ‘certificate of recognition’ after the successful completion of all course work and each year’s final exam

Goals & Objectives:

  • Encourage accountability and personal commitment through the year round program structure
  • Acknowledge academic achievement and milestones through a formal Diploma
  • Establish a firm foundation in Indian classical dance technique and theory as determined by governing institutions,  Gurus and Shakti School of Dance syllabus
  • Go beyond the typical syllabus and deepen understanding of allied subjects for a higher level of mastery in Odissi classical Indian dance (such as: anatomy and kinesiology, health and wellness, yoga, Ayurveda, aesthetic theory, religion and philosophy, culture and history, and more)
  • Set in motion strong practice and study habits
  • Employ healthy dance practices: correct alignment, injury prevention and self care, supplementary exercises and basics of diet and nutrition
  • Build a personal and communal archive (as a printed book and online archive) for clear reference of all material covered in course syllabus
  • Encourage, inspire and co create with fellow students in your course through group projects, long distance practice accountability and sharing of resources

This IS the right program for me if I…

  • Love to learn for the sake of learning
  • Feel a strong commitment to Odissi and wish to participate in to keeping this incredible tradition alive
  • Want to do honest hard work and let that show through my every action
  • Like to challenge myself to my limits and beyond
  • Resonate with the Vision and Values of Shakti School of Dance
  • Believe in and desire the transformative power of Odissi and Yoga
  • Want to become a better person and dancer through self reflection, accepting corrections and overcoming challenges
  • Like to spend my free time dancing and studying more than socializing and
    pleasure seeking
  • Have the self discipline to organize my responsibilities, life commitments and weekly schedule to accommodate the work load of this course
  • Have the financial resources to meet the payment requirements

This IS *NOT the right program for me if I…

  • I do not have the financial means to complete the yearly tuition payments or will go into excessive debt if I join the program
  • I do not have access to a proper dance space where I can meet your regular weekly Odissi practice requirements
  • I do not have time in my life right now due to family, work or life responsibilities
  • I doubt in the ability of SSD teachers, or the lineage of our school
  • I am looking for a quick ‘Teacher Training Program’ to add more material to teaching my own dance / yoga workshops
  • I have an injury that might aggravate from regular Odissi practice
  • I have an aversion to learning about and participating in Hindu rituals related to the cultural context of Odissi dance

* If this is not the right program for you AT THIS MOMENT, do not distress! The future will come to bear fruit with honest intention setting and intelligent planning.  In the meantime, you are more than welcome to join our intensive trainings, workshops, drop in classes and retreats which better fit your abilities at the moment.

Common Setbacks:

  • Time management (What will you cut out of your schedule to find the time and space to complete the practice and coursework requirements?)
  • Life priorities not supporting this study (Some reprioritizing will be required
    before you start this course commitment)
  • Lack of family / community support (Stay connected to your teachers and
    Diploma Course peers)
  • Financial situation (This is a commitment of time and finances, you will need to prepare properly for this. We can offer letters of support if you are seeking financial assistance/funding)
  • Access to a proper dance studio (Work it out. You will need to practice
  • Access to computer and ability to use Google Drive (we prefer every student has a Mac to be able to share documents through the Pages program)

Course Requirements:

Students interested in seeking a degree in Odissi Classical Dance must satisfy the following requirements to be considered for the Odissi Diploma Course:

  • Students must have already attended at least one session at SSD, Pushkar or
    Shakti Summer School
  • Laptop computer for completing assignments
  • Must be able to use Google Drive and its associated apps to complete and hand in all exams and quizzes
  • Must have regular access to an Odissi dance practice space to complete required practice hours
  • Students must be able to commit both personally and financially to the year long program, partial participation is not allowed
  • Our strict no-refund policy applies to encourage the commitment. Refunds will not be given if the student’s situation (personal, emotional, family, health or financial) should change at any point during the school year.

Costs & Application:

Annual costs:

$4,050 – If paid before start of the year
$4,150 – If paid in Quarterly installments

* Scholarships are available for Indian Nationals who maintain permanent residence in India, please write us to inquire further.


STEP 1: Students must submit a regular SSD (Pushkar) application as to be found on the SSD website for the sessions they intend to participate in.

STEP 2: Write a *1 page professional letter (in English) addressed to Shakti School of Dance seeking consideration for the Diploma Course.

You must mention the following points:

  • Year which you are seeking admission in?
  • Do you intend to follow the program through its full 5 years?
  • Express why we should consider you for this course?
  • What are your personal intentions and goals for seeking a degree in Odissi classical dance? Do you wish to teach or perform, etc?
  • If you already are a teacher, how will these teachings influence or integrate into your current teaching curriculum? (Please understand, this is not a teacher training program – permission to teach Odissi will only be given under your teachers discretion after successful completion of the 5 year Diploma course)
  • Explain how your current personal schedule will allow you to commit the time requirements of this course?
  • Explain how your financial situation will allow you to cover the entire tuition in either payment option (all at once / or quarterly installments)?
  • Explain how you plan to give back to Odissi / classical Indian arts through your participation in this program?
  • Anything else you would like to state for our consideration