Dr. Aparupa Chatterjee is a professional Odissi dancer, scholar, arts educator and choreographer based out of India and (Texas and North Dakota) USA. She was introduced to the world of dance by Smt. Sharmila Basu Thakur at the tender age of 7, and introduced to a few Odissi repertory pieces choreographed by Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra by Smt. Poushali Mukherjee. It was at that time, feeling the earnest need to learn and pursue pure Odissi formally from the original source of Odissi, Aparupa joined Srjan, the international ‘Ashram’ or school of Odissi, home of Padvabibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, India. From her early teens, she has been formally trained in Odissi, from the very basics, under the able guidance of Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, the Director of Srjan, and today she is one of the leading disciples of the maestro. Chatterjee not only has been performing his teachings at international and national festivals but also is a dedicated teacher, committed to train America-born students, forming a family of Odissi dancers internationally for past 11 years following the Guru-Shishya Parampara. While in Srjan, she has also learnt with Guru Sujata Mohapatra extensively and continues to learn and organise her workshops in the USA.
Aparupa, an ex Gokhalite, holds a BS (in Chemistry) from St. Xaveir’s College Kolkata, an MS (in Oceanography) from University of Calcutta, an MS (in Atmospheric Sciences) from the Texas A&M University and a PhD (in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications) from the Texas A&M University, USA. With her interdisciplinary background, Chatterjee’e mission is to respond to social, economic and conflict issues through implementing the universal language of Odissi, Dance education and International development from a global perspective. Her vision stretches towards responding to issues women as artists face within rural and urban communities, being a South Asian migrant, having experienced social, ethical and ecomonic challenges spreading Odissi diaspora. Her doctorate focusses on how performing arts, especially dance and theater have been employed as a tool for development, education and social reconstruction, with a light on peace building in Rwandan agricultural communities.
Chatterjee founded the International Institute for Culture and performing Arts Development (IICPD) as an adjunct dance organisation at the Texas A&M University in 2009. She curates the North American Odissi Convention from 2010 and is the Artistic Director of the Odissi Dance Company (a 501 c(3) non-profit founded in 2015). As a torchbearer of the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra legacy aboad, Chatterjee has curated the unique festival- “Kelucharan Guna Keertanam” held in different parts of the world every year in remembrance of the celebration of the great works of the Gurus. Chatterjee has been a recipient of the prestigious Regent’s Fellow award, performed lead roles in Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra’s iconic repertory and in new contemporary works of Guru Ratikant Mohapatra. She has featured and collaborated with the Srjan repertory of Bhubaneshwar, Sudeshna Maulik (Montreal), Sunanda Nair’s Company, Guru Sujata Mohapatra, Natyalaya company, and many other prestigious associations.
Among national and international awards, she has received the prestigious Regents Fellowship, Indo-American Arts council grants, National Scholarship from Govt of India, Sur Sansad Mumbai’s Singar Mani, Padmavati Pratibha Samman, Calcutta University Scholarship, Indian Raga’s Senior Fellowship, etc. Aparupa has trained over 500 students in past 11 years and aims to continue a collaborative approach between dance education, choreography, instruction and dance in practice.
Chatterjee’s choreographic works include “Ashtapadi”(Fellowship project at MIT), “Anubhuti” (Indian Raga’s Senior Fellowship project), “Vithala” (international press acclaim, noted to be a ‘high point in her choreographic works’), “Bhajemanam”, “Meera”, etc.