Indian classical dances were born in the temples as a form of worship practiced by devadāsis (meaning servants of God). The alankārā devadāsis were the highest order of devadāsis. They were carefully chosen and initiated at a tender age. Alongside a rigorous training in Gandharva Vidyā (knowldge of dance and music), they learned all the intricacies of makeup, the art of decoration, etiquette, and spiritual scriptures.
The mission of Alankārā is to educate and prepare students in Odissi dance,
music, theory, and performance. Inherent in the training process is challenging
students to choreographic skills, to think critically about Odissi movement and
idiom, and to imbibe the spiritual significance of the artistic tradition.
Graduates of the program will be knowledgeable in invocatory dance, pure dance, expressional dance, basic Odissi music, foundational theory, make-up (aharya) and will be prepared for a full-scale Odissi recital (Ranga Pravesh).