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Conversations with Nilanjana Banerjee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nilanjana Banerjee.

Hi Nilanjana, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
Having set up home in India, Singapore, New Jersey, and California, my rich global experience has shaped both my outlook on life and my personality. With dance as my cornerstone, I easily bridge the gap between the east and the west and adapt my teachings with a western perspective. I attribute my dance to a healing force where many of my students draw strength from my support and teachings. Dance has not only brought peace and happiness but has also given me a symbiotic mission in life. I volunteer with equal passion & dedication for numerous nonprofits, philanthropic, and community causes. My journey from India to California bears testimonial to the modern woman embracing life’s changes in a positive spirit. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I had to fight Ageism when I resumed my stage career 20 years back. I was in my mid 30’s, a mother of two. There was no acceptance for someone like me. Most adults started teaching in their 20s focusing on running a business vs a stage career. I defied the norm to become New Jersey’s most prolific performer, traveling all over the country and doing over 150 shows. I believe that Age & society should not be a barrier to one’s dreams and aspirations. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
At RDM Studio, I teach a 2000 years old Indian temple dance Odissi that offers the benefits of yoga & meditation along with a complete workout. I offer these 2 programs: 

1. Goddess Flow for retreats and yoga studios to explore the Bhakti Yoga aspect of Odissi. Participants engage in Soft, flowy Odissi dance moves.

2. Temple Dancers for those wanting to learn Odissi. A hybrid model is offered both onsite and online.

Dancers Collective is my selected group of dancers who perform with me. They travel from different states & learn intensively in an ancient Gurukul or homestay way. 

Teaching adults 20-60 years is my specialty. I have inspired many to take up dancing. I am most proud of my multi-ethnic diverse group of students who come together in my Zen space for their love of Odissi.

Lastly, Please watch RDM Studio perform at The California Center for Arts, Escondido on Jan 29th 2023.

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
Covid-19 was a blessing in disguise. I started teaching online and had people from Europe to the East coast join my sessions. I resumed my in-person classes after 2 years of teaching online. Along the way, I was able to get super committed dancers who drive cross country to study with me. I developed a Digital library with step-by-step instructions & an entire catalog of my dance pieces for students to review. 

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