About Me

I have been living in India since 2008, training intensely in Mayurbhanj Chhau, in Delhi and occasionally in the Mayurbhanj district. I am the current senior disciple of Guru Janmejoy Saibabu, intending to bring more exposure to this rich and beautiful art form and promote its growth so that the tradition can live on firmly rooted, yet open to evolution and refinement.

I won’t tell you the long story about how I came into dance or moreover how I landed in India, but it is necessary to mention that  I began training in 2000 and completed a course in Tai Chi Chuan, yang style and explored other disciplines such as Aikido, Kung Fu, Capoeira, Belly dance, Mexican Aztec Dance, and Colombian swordsplay. I owe lots of gratitude to people like Omar Granados, Diana Fernandez, Kena Acosta…  My first Gurus.

In 2008 I was granted the ICCR scholarship to come and learn Odissi in Delhi under Priyambada Pattnaik and also since I decided to take up Chhau Dance under Guruji.  Seeing that it was a dance form involving martial elements, I could not resist, I have always had a platonic love for martial arts.  It was the perfect combination of the energies that dwell in me, the feminine and the masculine.

It has been a blessing to experience the commitment, dedication and strong tie that has developed with Chhau dance and my guru. As his current senior disciple, knowing how valuable this art is, I feel a deep responsibility to be a link between tradition and the contemporary world, between what has been taught in Mayurbhanj repeteadly for decades and the development of the art that my Guru has to offer; to represent a male-oriented tradition and an art form that can be approached by daring women who are not just content by carrying out the light and feminine roles in the dances. I want to be one of the boys in the Panchasakha (a martial art piece about “the five friends”), I want to play Arjun in Geeta (epic piece about the Mahabharat war where Krishna isntructs Arjun to kill for the sake of Dharma), I want to be Krishna in Tamudia Krushna (the classic romantic encounter between Radha and Krishna).  More ambitiously, I don’t want to be a foreigner that looks like she is doing chhau, or attempting it, my dream is to have my body move as the young boys in Mayurbhanj do, but better yet, with the refinement and polishing that Guruji’s style brings forth.

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16 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hi Carolina,

    Great to know about you and your Passion for Mayurbhanj Chhou. I feel the work that you are doing is critical for Chhou now as it needs a lot of support to bring back the glorious years of chhou as it was under the patronage of the Maharajas of Mayurbhanj. I write to you as a lover of this art form and being part of the Chhou family of Guru Madan Mohan Lenka. Presently we are in the process of establishing a Trust ( to be registered in the next month) that is focussed on supporting the art form through documentation, supporting of artists and establishing of a dance repertory company through which we aim to bring the dance form to the local as well as international audience. Our effort is completely personal and we are committed to supporting this trust to the best of our abilities.

    I look forward to more on your blog and hope some day our paths might cross. I live in Bangalore and do travel to Delhi on work. If you are down here sometime or I go there may be we could connect. Let me know your coordinates by mail.

    All the best and look forward to meeting you someday.

    Warm Regards,
    Sambit Lenka
    +91 9886542342
    sambitlen@gmail.com

  2. Caro,

    This is your old childhood friend, Maria Rios. I cannot begin to tell you how very proud I am to see you grow into the incredible artist and woman you have become. I enjoyed reading your biography and learning how deeply talented you are. I remember us dancing together as teenagers–you had this inner light that glowed every time you moved. I am happy to see that you continue to follow your dreams, pushing yourself to become the best you can be. You are an inspiration to me and to everyone that surrounds you. I hope someday I’ll have the chance to see you perform.

    Besitos… tu amiga,

    Maria Rios

  3. hi i am printing a book on lord shiva i need your photos for that can u send me some photos of your dance for my book
    about the book it contains 1300 exclusive photos of lord shiva

  4. Hi Carolina,
    I am a south Delhi based dance photographer and want to work on Odissi and Chau Dance, all though I am not a trained dancer but have some sense and doing photography for last 21 years, currently I am staying near by Saket N delhi. My kind request is : to get permission & information from you to take some photographs of you while performing in Delhi on both the dance forms.
    Best regards, …. Somnath Sengupta M-+91-9971500371 Saket Nd-30

    1. Dear Somnath,
      Sorry for the late reply. I was out of the country for some time during the summer and then got really busy while coming back and sttling down again. I’m really happy about your request and interest in photographing the dance forms. Right now I’m having some shows but not in Delhi so if you could wait a bit, we will be having several programs in late october, november and december. So I will let you know and we can arrange the shoot. All the best and thanks again.

  5. Dear Carolina,
    Many thanks for your kind reply ! I am more than happy to receive a positive reply from you. I am ready to wait till Oct/Nov, no problem. Please do let me know when you are performing in Delhi, I am eagerly waiting for your reply. Till then please take care. Tnanks and best regards,
    Somnath Sengupta
    Mob-9971500371
    A-71/4, Paryavaran Complex
    IGNOU Road, Near Saket Metro Stn,
    New Delhi – 110030

  6. Dear Carolina,
    It was Great to know about Mayurbhanj Chhau and how passionately you are into this danceform.I have seen this dnceform many times and I know that Mayurbhanj Chhau has the classical touch and some day it will be recognized as a classical dance.
    Thankyou !

  7. Awesome, I saw your performance at the festival that was held in Delhi a few months back, it was an exhilarating performance, I would surely like to meet you one day in person !!

    Warm regards & Best of luck !!

  8. Dear Carolina Madam,
    Hope you are well under the blessing of God! I am a great admirer of Chhau dance, particularly the Mayurbhanj and Purulia Chhau. I belongs to the next district (Bankura) of Purulia and seen many great performances there in my childhood and in college life. Now I have been living in South Delhi and current doing exclusive work on Indian Classical Dance Photography and want to shoot on your dance also if you please let me know about your next program schedule in Delhi!
    Thanks and best regards,
    Somnath Sengupta
    Mob – 99715 00371
    Sainik Farms,
    New Delhi – 110062

  9. Hello Somnath ji! Thank you for your interest and wish. I had not read the comment till now, unfortunately I just had a program yesterday at Siri Fort. Anyway I will surely let you know of upcoming shows. Once again thank you for writing. It would be interesting to collaborate and do some promotion work for chhau together. Regards,
    Carolina

  10. Hi Caro…
    Many thanks for your kind reply… I feel very un-lucky as I missed your program in Siri Fort on 4th Dec 2014….. but eagerly waiting to make some wonderful Photographs on your performance in any place near South Delhi.. if you please give me some time to set my programme … or I can do one thing …. I can shoot some photos in your place …. I mean … where you do your regular practise in your GURU Ji’s place of somewhere else, where you feel comfortable….
    If possible … kindly let me know that ….
    Best regards … NAMASTE …
    Somnath Sengupta
    Event Photographer
    A – 71/4, Paryavaran Complex
    New Delhi – 30
    Mob – 9971500371

  11. In a lighter vein: Having watched you perform chaau dance at Tezpur College, Tezpur (Assam) on March 10, 2015, I have developed a feeling that you are trying to feminize a male-centric dance. This is what you might call innovation. I do not have to tell you that most of the Indian classical dances are Sri Krisna-centric, by extension, male-centric, and, therefore, patriachal. Ironically, most of the performers of these dances are women. On a serious note: The fluidity and swiftness with which you moved your body or parts of your body, the momentary immersion of your assertive, conscious self in the enactment of the martial dance overwhelmed me. I felt for a moment then that you were the dance and the dancer! You were the harmonization of the binary opposition in us : male-female, the baleful-the beautiful, the tandava- the lasya! Best wishes.

  12. hi carolina me and my daughter are a big fan of your dance. may we know when and where you will be performing next in Delhi.

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