Colleena Shakti is an artist of great subtlety and depth. Trained in Odissi classical dance and well-versed in many styles of dance from India and beyond, Colleena lives an artistic path steeped in rich tradition. Yoga, Aesthetics and related philosophies are an integral part of her holistic vision that helps her to bridge tradition with modern expression.
Devotee of highly ordained monk, His Holiness Swami Vidydishananda Giri, dedicated disciple of esteemed Odissi Guru, Smt. Sujata Mohapatra and grateful student of Prof. Ranjana Shrivastava (Kathak classical dance) and CVN Kalari, Trivandrum (South Indian Martial Arts)… Colleena Shakti is a dancer of great subtlety and depth.
She has dedicated her life to dance ever since moving to India in 2001 to undergo intensive training in Odissi Classical Indian dance, as well as to research and document Rajasthani folk dance, music and jewelry traditions. She has had the great fortune to study under some of India’s greatest masters for more than 2 decades, and continues to dig deeper in the philosophies and practices, which tie Indian dance to the path of Yoga.
Colleena is committed to honoring her dance lineages and preserving traditional and quickly disappearing art forms of India, yet still manages to balance her work with innovation and self-expression through her approach in Fusion projects. Many who seek her instruction find a gentle bridging of Eastern and Western thought in the structured dance training and reflective philosophical teachings.
She lives most of the year in Rajasthan, India where she has founded Shakti School of Dance in the historical Rang Nath temple complex in the holy town of Pushkar, while in summer months she tours, performing and teaching worldwide. Annually, she presents the Pushkar Temple Dance Festival, a classical music and dance festival in the temple, which houses her school.
Over the past decade in Rajasthan, she has been living closely with a tribe of Kalbelia ‘Gypsies’ and has witnessed many stages of evolution within their nomadic culture. It took years for her to observe the details and accents of their dance form, because it is constantly evolving. She travels India performing at village fairs, for royalty in Rajasthan’s great palaces and at prestigious arts festivals with her Rajasthani Musicians.
Drawing from her in-depth study of Indian artistic traditions, Vedic philosophies, classical Odissi and Kathak, Rajasthani folk and tribal dance forms, her strong background in belly dance and the rigor of her practice as a dedicated dancer, yogini, teacher and performer, Colleena offers students a rich and holistic workshop curriculum.