Monalisa Ghosh is a performer, teacher and choreographer and one of the leading exponents of Odissi dance (an Indian classical dance form which celebrates ritualistic yet liberating impulses of temple architecture and sculpture suspended in a romantic, intangible construct of legend and myth). Monalisa’s merit lies in the deft combination of truthfulness to tradition, which accommodates distinct individuality and inspires audiences across continents and cultures. Protected by the prestige of classicism, the sensuality of the physical form is heightened by recurring traditional themes of the soul longing for union with the divine.
Monalisa has performed all over India sharing stage with leading maestros, in prestigious dance festivals and conferences since the year 1983. From 1990 her zest was to make the dance form more familiar to the discerning lovers of Indian Classical dancers in The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, U.S.A., U.K., Tajikistan, Sweden, Denmark,Spain,U.A.E. and Bangladesh.
To restore and preserve this rich classical dance form, she is one of the first contemporary Odissi dancers of Kolkata, to establish a residential Gurukul, inaugurated in 2003 February, in a serene natural atmosphere, named Kalajyoti. Students live in natural surroundings in an ashram-like atmosphere with the Guru, trained on Odissi Dance, Vocal, Percussion, Sanskrit, Yoga, and Aesthetics at the Kalamandap. The main emphasis is given on renewing the waning Indian traditional values and culture and spread it both nationally and internationally.
Her lecture demonstrations around the world delineate the Meditational, philosophical, spiritual, aesthetical and therapeutic value of our Indian classical dance and specially Odissi - in daily life. Her research and findings on classical dance as a therapy has been published in Stuttgarter Zeitung, the German daily.
Monalisa has been Invited as an assistant choreographer with Director Leo Sprecksel to compose Netherlands Contemporary Dance and Odissi Fusion at the premier show of Korzo Theater Netherlands.
She is in the expert committee of Masters Examination of Odissi Dance in Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, 2018 and has been recognized by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, as an outstanding choreographer both in traditional Odissi style and contemporary style. She is a maestro in blending chau, Gotipua styles which are associated with spectacular gymnastic movements hovering between bright playful rhythmic performances to powerful Martian energetic, ferocious and even fearful depictions of emotions. She is always traveling to different countries of the world to train aspiring dancers to recreate this dance form outside temple precincts for them to explore its endless possibilities.
At Cambridge Creation Lab, Monalisa would be dreaming and undreaming dance as a performance art to “communicate” interlocked dimensions or forms in various disciplines. She would be incorporating elements of surprise-spontaneity in her choreographies and allowing the body to connect unconnected dots having learned the key techniques of this devotional, theatrical and sensual dance form. They would learn rhythmic accuracy and spatial awareness and understand how to free their minds, emotions the way they want to, design their own bodies through space and realize their truest potential of the research that they have conducted via writing and music and be able to transform the same through their own bodies and thus become the art they have created.
When Monalisa is not teaching or listening to her favorite musical pieces or mentally translating the three-dimensional temple sculptures into actual space, she is busy with her three precious golden retrievers - Shan, Simba and Goldie (who was a rescue dog). Simba is just 3 months old and his favorite pastime is mud-digging and retrieving jackfruit seeds and flaunting it to her and as Monalisa revels in the performative power of such acts of innocent playfulness she says that she rediscovers the simple yet profound acts of “Bhava”(feeling) and “Rasa”(expression) and this helps her tide over life’s daily trials and continue to embrace the sublime in dance performance.