Durga Bor

After devoting herself to modern dance, hatha yoga and improvisational movement, Durga Bor began her studies in Odissi Classical Dance at Naropa Institute, Boulder, Colorado, where she was a dance and philosophy major. Subsequently, she went to India to study in New Delhi under Guru S. N. Jena at Triveni Kala Sangam and received a five-year diploma. In 1985 she was invited by the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Bombay, to participate in an intensive-study workshop under the guidance of the renowned Odissi master, Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra.
She returned to India in 1989 for fourteen months after being awarded a Professional Development Fellowship by the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS). During that period she studied in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, at the Odissi Research Centre where she learned choreography with Manoranjan Pradhan and simultaneously received intensive training from Guru Gangadhar Pradhan at the Orissa Dance Academy, doing both practical study and research. She returned to the United States in 1994, after being based in Amsterdam for thirteen years where she taught dance at the ISTAR School for Indian Music and Dance, De Nieuw Amsterdam Theatre School, and Muziekschool Amsterdam's Wereld Muziekschool.

Durga returned to Orissa on an AIIS Senior Fellowship in the Performing Arts in Spring, 2005, where she continued with Gurus Manoranjan Pradhan and Gangadhar Pradhan and also began studies with Sujata Mohapatra at Srujan. She had the opportunity at that time to perform at the annual Konarak Dance and Music Festival. She has been teaching classical Indian dance and South Asian dance history and theory at Cornell University since 1995, was an Assistant Professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2007 and has periodically taught at Syracuse University. Durga also works for the South Asia Program, Cornell University, as an academic and cultural events organizer, having brought some of India’s finest artists to Cornell, such as Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Srujan to commemorate Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra’s 70th birthday tour, Siv Kumar Sharma, Orissa Dance Academy, Alarmel Valli and Farid Ayaz Qawaal, just to name a few. She also works as an outreach educator through the South Asia Program, going into primary and secondary schools and colleges, giving lectures, performances and workshops.

In 2003, through Cornell’s Department of Asian Studies, and the Department of Theatre Film and Dance, with a grant from the Freeman Foundation, and help from the Asian Cultural Council, she hosted Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, for a full semester, and co-taught with him at Cornell. They also performed together and gave workshops in regional schools and colleges.

She continues to perform and give workshops in the United States and Europe, as a soloist and with other dancers. She enjoys experimenting with cross-cultural dance movements, having choreographed and performed “Durga’s Dance” with cellist Sara Smollen, Nikolai Ruskin (tar) and Max Bucholz (violin) and enjoys many types of music and dance, but remains a true and devoted follower of Odissi.

She can be reached at

1 comment:

  1. Durga, you are really looking beautiful here and I am so happy to see that you have devoted so much of your life to pursue the beautiful art form we both love so dearly. I am proud to have been your room-mate in the early days in India, having both come from the unforgettable classes at Naropa Institute. Fondly I want to say, "You've come a long way, Baby!" ...Keep up the good work!


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