Odissi Diploma Program.


Jai Jaganath!

We are delighted to finally offer this program of year-round study towards a diploma in Odissi classical dance. 

Dedicated students wishing to traverse a well defined path to establishing a strong professional foundation in Odissi dance, and embark on a life long journey in Indian classical arts, finally have this chance!  

Our unique programfosters students within the intellectual, philosophical, and spiritual context for a higher level of mastery in Odissi classical Indian dance.

This Odissi Diploma Program is both a physical and academic study of Odissi performance technique, choreography and artistry, as well as critical application of Indian classical dance theory.  Students will enjoy this cohesive journey as they enhance their knowledge and expertise through classroom training hours, online study, research papers, research/study trips and self practice.  

Diploma students will gain access to special course work, discounts and payment plans, educational resources, online teachings and immersive experiences to help develop their physical and intellectual potential.  This program’s unique focus differs from casual workshop enrollment in its emphasis on year round study, one to one support, teacher and peer feedback, group work, critical thinking projects, as well as the collaborative creation of archive material for the posterity of Odissi Dance culture on special academic trips to Orissa.

This professional program focuses not only on the physical aspects of dance, but the cultural, intellectual, philosophical and spiritual aspects as well. The student’s knowledge is stimulated with an understanding of the social and historical context in which Odissi has developed and is currently experienced. 

These studies are particularly beneficial for students who want to learn at a higher level of education and further their careers in performance arts.

By earning this degree, students will be well on their way to being effective, prepared and knowledgable dance practitioners, teachers and leaders in the dance world.  Beyond this, our hope is that this program produces not only good dancers and intellectuals, but good people who carry the torch of our lineage with grace and intelligence.

Through the defined yearly course work, students will travel the path towards a diploma with a peer group, finding companionship and support from a group of fellow students.  The Odissi Diploma Program is designed as a 5 year program which will earn students a Diploma from Shakti School of Dance.  After the completion of this foundational degree in Odissi dance, students may choose to find employment and professional opportunities with Shakti School of Dance or other institutions.

The Diploma Program stresses rigor and activity and thrives in the devotional/spiritual arts environment.  It is carefully balanced to provide a foundation in theoretical and technical dance studies, offering opportunities for the individual student to aspire, dream and accomplish.

Build a dance life through regular practice and academic acknowledgement.  You are what you do… so choose DANCE!

Key Information

Program Structure 2020:

  • Time commitment is: 500 + hours per year 
  • 240 + hours of classroom training time at Shakti School of Dance in Pushkar, India
  • 60 + hours at Shakti Summer School in Crete, Greece. (Option to make up the 60 hours in USA at our annual Fall intensive workshop)
  • 200 + hours of logged practice hours, online study, project work, reading assignments, reports, group work, performance reviews and exams.
  • Exams are given twice per year: in person – April in Pushkar and online in December
  • Shakti School of Dance Diploma of Odissi Dance is earned over 5 years at the successful completion of all coursework and exams.

Duration – 5 years:

Through the duration of the 5 year diploma program, coursework will vary and evolve every year as students progress.  Year 1-2 focuses on mastery of foundational knowledge and techniques.  Year 3-4 focuses on advancing complexities of Odissi through choreography and music studies as well as adding academic research trips to Orissa and possibly other parts of India.  Year 5 the student will turn more to critical application of knowledge, stage performance skills, cultural preservation and dissemination through teaching and performance, as well as completing their final project.  Student’s commitment is on a year to year basis (please see attendance and deferral policy) with an annual subsidiary ‘certificate of recognition’ after the successful completion of all course work and each year’s final exam.  

Certificate of completion of each year in the 5 year Diploma Program are as follows: 

  • Sangeet Parichaya & Parambhik – Year 1
  • Praveshika Pratham – Year 2
  • Praveshika Purna – Year 3
  • Madhyama Pratham – Year 4
  • Madhyama Purna – Year 5

Calendar and Locations – 2020 Diploma Program:

*Each year will follow approximately the same calendar

QTR Date Location Coursework
1st Mid-Jan thru Mid-April 2020 Pushkar,  Rajasthan 240 + hours of classroom training hours, group work, projects and exams over session 2 & 3 at SSD

April SSD Pushkar,  Rajasthan Exams given for Year 1  by SSD
2nd Mid-April thru Mid-July 2020 Home Completing projects, writing papers, logged self practice, theory and practical quiz via video conference call.

July 2020 Shakti Summer School, Greece 60 + hours  of classroom training 
3rd July 2020 – October 2020 Home Completing projects, writing papers, logged self practice, theory and practical quiz via video conference call.

Fall 2020  Berkeley or Portland, USA Annual Fall Workshop in USA
4th October 2020 – January 2021 Home Completing projects, writing papers, logged self practice, theory and practical quiz via video conference call.

*If students are not able to attend summer school in Greece they can request to attend the annual USA Fall workshops to acquire these additional hours of training.

Course Objectives

Shakti School of Dance Program Objectives – General:

  • Establish a cohesive, well defined path towards mastery Of Odissi classical dance for students of SSD
  • Fulfill the need for structured consistent education in the field of Odissi Classical Indian Dance for international students.
  • Offer an extended syllabus for a higher level of mastery in Odissi classical Indian dance including areas not currently covered in traditional learning systems (such as: anatomy and kinesiology, yoga, religion and philosophy and more) 
  • Acknowledge academic achievement and milestones of SSD students through a formal Diploma and annual recognition at the completion of each year
  • Encourage accountability and personal commitment to a lifestyle of dance and study through the year round program structure
  • Create a structured learning platform which includes a combination of live and online teachings, printed study material, documented references and online archive.
  • To nurture the sincere desire students have for knowledge and mastery and offer support as they embark on this lifelong path of study

Course Objectives – Year 1 Students:

  • Establish a firm foundation in Indian classical dance technique and theory as determined by governing institutions, Gurus and Shakti School of Dance syllabus
  • Establish a firm foundational understanding in auxiliary branches of study such as: Yoga and related philosophies, health and wellness, culture and history, and more.
  • Develop good practice and study habits
  • Learn and employ healthy dance practices: correct alignment, injury prevention and self care, supplementary exercises and basics of diet and nutrition
  • Build a personal and communal archive (as a printed book and online archive) for clear reference of all material covered in Year 1 Syllabus
  • Encourage, inspire and co create with fellow students in your course through group projects, long distance practice accountability and sharing of resources

This is the right program for me if I…

  • Love to learn for the sake of learning
  • Feel a strong commitment to Odissi and believe just by studying and dedicating to it, I am helping to keep this incredible tradition alive
  • Want to do honest hard work and let that show through my every action
  • Resonate with and feel confident in the Vision and Values of Shakti School of Dance
  • Believe in and desire the transformative power of Odissi and Yoga 
  • Like to challenge myself to my limits and beyond 
  • Want to become a better person and dancer through self reflection, accepting corrections and overcoming challenges
  • Like to spend my free time dancing and studying more than socializing and pleasure seeking
  • Have the self discipline to organize my responsibilities, life commitments and weekly schedule to accommodate the work load of this course
  • Have the financial resources to meet the payment schedule and requirements 

This is not the right program for you if…

  • You do not have the financial means to complete the yearly tuition payments or will go into excessive debt to join the program
  • You do not have access to a proper dance space where you can meet your regular weekly odissi practice requirements 
  • You do not have time in your life right now due to family, work or life responsibilities 
  • You doubt in the ability of SSD teachers, or the lineage of our school
  • You want to make a lot of money from being a dance teacher and are looking for a quick ‘Teacher Training Program’, want to teach prematurely (before you receive explicit permission from your teachers at completion of the Diploma Course) or want to glean teaching material for your current dance / yoga classes
  • Want to wear the costume, do the photoshoot and social media posts, but not do your daily Chowka practice
  • You have an injury that might aggravate from regular Odissi practice
  • You have an aversion to learning about and participating to some degree in Hindu ritual and spiritual inquiry within the Indian Vaishnav context
  • You want to abstract, obscure or misrepresent the Odissi of Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra to suit your own ideas or values which do not align with the lineage.  Such as, but not limited to: sexualizing odissi, watering down the technique for teaching – yet using Odissi to reference what you are doing, exotifying the art form by removing it from its context.

*If this is not the right program for you AT THIS MOMENT, do not distress!  The future will come to bear fruit with honest intention setting and intelligent planning.  In the mean time, you are more than welcome to join our intensive trainings, workshops, drop in classes and retreats which better fit your abilities at the moment.

Why should I do this instead of a Workshop/ SSD Session?

What will I get out of this program:  

  • Diploma from Shakti School of Dance
  • Accountability in your studies through year round coursework
  • Teacher and peer support through out the year
  • Access to archives and libraries
  • Study groups, projects and private theory classes during trainings

Common set backs in study:  

  • Time management (What will you cut out of your schedule to find the time and space to complete the practice and coursework requirements?)
  • Life priorities not supporting this study (Some reprioritizing will be required before you start this course commitment)  
  • Lack of family / community support (Stay connected to your teachers and  Diploma Course peers)
  • Financial situation (This is a commitment of time and finances, you will need to properly prepare for this.  We can offer letters of support if you are seeking financial assistance/funding)
  • Access to proper dance studio (Work it out.  You will need to practice regularly)
  • Access to computer and ability to use Google Drive (we prefer every student has a Mac to be able to share documents through the Pages program)

Course Entry Requirements – 2020

Pre-Requisite Requirements:

Students interested in seeking a degree in Odissi Classical Dance must satisfy the following requirements to be considered for the Odissi Diploma Course:

  • Students must have already attended at least one session of training at Shakti School of Dance as of 2019
  • Students must have a working laptop computer with them at all trainings (including SSD – Pushkar) and at home to complete assignments according to requirements (SSD prefers students use Mac computers or have access and knowledge of using the Pages and Numbers program)
  • Must be able to use Google Drive and its associated apps to complete and hand in all exams and quizzes
  • Must have regular access to an Odissi dance practice space to complete required practice hours
  • Students must be able to commit both personally and financially to the year long program, partial participation is not allowed.  
  • Our strict no-refund policy applies and will be enforced: Refunds will not be given if the student’s situation (personal, emotional, family, health or financial) should change at any point during the school year.  Extreme exceptions will be considered, only if a doctor’s note is provided.   Please understand and agree to this before applying to this program.  (more information provided in Payment section of course overview)


Interested students must also submit a regular SSD application as to be found on the SSD website for the sessions they intend to participate in.

Application is as follows:

Write a *1 page*  professional letter (in proper academic English) addressed to Shakti School of Dance seeking their consideration into the Diploma Course.  Please include a response to the following points:  

  1. Year which you are seeking admission (Jan – Dec 2020) 
  1. Do you intend to follow the program through its full 5 years
  1. Express why we should consider you for this course
  1. What are your personal intentions and goals for seeking a degree in Odissi classical dance?  Do you wish to teach or perform, etc?  
  1. If you already are a teacher, how will these teachings influence or integrate into your current teaching curriculum?  (Please understand, this is not a teacher training program – permission to teach Odissi will only be given under your teachers discretion after successful completion of the 5 year Diploma course)
  1. Please explain how your personal schedule will allow you to commit the required time to this course?
  1. Explain how your financial situation will allow you to cover the entire tuition in either payment option (all at once / or initial deposit, then paid out quarterly)?
  1. Explain how you plan to give back to Odissi / classical Indian arts through your participation in this program?
  1. Anything else you would like to state for our consideration

Waiver & Release of Responsibility Form:

Before beginning the Diploma Course at SSD, students must willingly sign and understand the ‘Waiver to Release Responsibility’ in order to participate in this program.  *Waiver states that you accept full responsibility for your health (mental and physical) through out the duration of your course and do not hold your teachers responsible.

Confidentiality Agreement:

Before beginning the Diploma Course at SSD, students must willingly sign and understand the ‘Confidentiality Agreement’ to participate in this program.  *The agreement states that if any part of the course material, intellectual property or proprietary approach is used in teaching any classes/workshops/seminars/online offerings, you will immediately be expelled from the program with no refund.  The contents of this course are for your personal study only, unless direct permission is given.

2020 Season

SSD: India
*Students are encouraged to take all 3 sessions at SSD, Pushkar.  A minimum of session 2 & 3 are required for Diploma Students and covered in the tuition.

Odissi Diploma Program Session # 2:  

Feb 7 – Mar 10, 120 hrs over 26 class days

March 8-10 are special class & study group session only for Degree Program Students.  Students will start to dive into their projects to prepare for the annual exams given in April. 

Diploma Course Only: Session # 3:  

Mar 16 – April 19, 120 hours over 26 class/exam days

Degree program session #3 includes Temple Dance Festival performance with live music, special 3 day Master Class in Odissi Music with Gurus from Orissa, exam prep days and 4 days of exams. 

*Study Group Sessions:  A school classroom is reserved for your work during this time, however this is a period of self lead study and self practice which will be presented to your teachers in the next session.  All students are required to be present and on time.  Attendance will be taken and points marked off for late arrival or no show. 


Our goal is to extend a significant discount to students for their long term commitment in this Odissi Diploma Program.

Included with Tuition Fees:

  • 1st Quarter live training:  (240 + hours) Session 2 & 3 of SSD season 2020
  • 2nd or 3rd Quarter live training:  (60 + hours) Shakti Summer School ~ Greece  Diploma Program (0r Odissi Fall workshop in USA by special arrangement)
  • Access to special workshops with Odissi musicians and guest artists
  • Access to special  teachings, practice videos, conference call practice sessions
  • Regular “office hours” meeting (live or via video call) with with your teacher to assess progress and to offer personal support
  • Printed study material, handouts, posters and study tools developed by SSD
  • Official Music for all items learned
  • Access to SSD private library of dance related books and resources

Tuition does not include: 

  • PayPal or transaction / conversion fees associated with tuition payments
  • Late fees for late or differed tuition payments
  • Travel, visa, accommodation or food costs for any trainings
  • Costumes for performances
  • Tuition for special workshops, drop in classes or retreats not outlined in the Odissi Diploma Program.  
  • Discounts or admission to trainings hosted by anyone other than SSD / CS
  • Tuition for additional SSD school sessions (like session #1, 2020).  These will be paid separately as per the regular registration process.  If participating in all 3 sessions at SSD, diploma students receive a 10% discount that would be applied to the Session #1 course only.
  • Food, Transport & Accommodation during Shakti Summer School ~ Greece

Annual Tuition Cost – 2020:

Annual yearly cost for the Odissi Diploma Program: $4,150

(500 hours – 300 live teaching hours)

Students have 2 options of how they will complete their tuition payment:

One Time Annual Tuition Payment – *With $100 Discount*:

Payment in Full ($4,050) before Jan 15, 2020. 

Annual Payment Plan:

First payment is a Non-refundable up front registration fee of $1,000 + the first quarterly installment of $781.  Total of first payment $1,781. This can be paid from the time of acceptance, to no later than the 15th of January each year.  Remaining amount is paid in quarterly installments of: $781.  Failure to complete any payment prior to deadline will automatically suspend your participation in the course, possibly delaying your exam schedule by one calendar year.

Annual Payment Plan Schedule:

Payment Amount  Due Before the date of:
1st 1st Quarter $1,780 January 15, 2020
2nd 2nd Quarter $790 April 15, 2020
3rd 3rd Quarter $790 July 15, 2020
4th 4th Quarter $790 October 15, 2020


$50 per violation (skipped due date)

If tuition payments are received later that 24 hours from the due date (as listed above) for any reason whatsoever, a Late Fee (of $50) will be added to students next quarterly payment.  Failure to pay the late fee or any due amount will result in immediate suspension from the program with out refund.

Please contact us for further inquiries.  Applications will open in Fall 2019.

For the Love of Dance,

Colleena Shakti, Director / Founder 

Shakti School of Dance


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