Shakti Bhakti Ensemble is a Santa Cruz based dance company dedicated to the exposition of Odissi Classical Indian Dance. Shakti Bhakti dancers are passionate about sharing the ancient art of Odissi Dance with audiences around the world.
Revital Carroll, founder and artistic director, had studied Odissi Dance with some of India’s most eminent dance gurus; Gangadhar Pradhan, Bichitrannada Swain, Sujata Mohapatra, and Ratikant Mohapatra, to name a few. She teaches and performs world wide, and continues her studies under Niharika Mohanty of Guru Shradha.
Revital is an internationally acclaimed performer and teacher. She is the founder and artistic director of Shakti Bhakti Ensemble, and the creator of three instructional DVDs: Temple Goddess Workout, Odissi Dance: Foundations, and Odissi Dance: Spins and Choreography. She is the co-author of Mudras of India, and author of Mudras of Indian Dance Card Deck. Revital teaches and performs worldwide.
Cheryl Thompson has learned theatrical and trance mask dances of Indonesia, Tribal Bellydance, Ballet, Jazz, Cheerleading and Bollywood. About three years ago, she found the divine Revital Carroll. The intricacy, ancient roots, sublime aesthetics, grace and strength of Odissi captured Cheryl’s heart. She has been a devoted student ever since. CHeryl is grateful to have had numerous opportunities to share this devotional dance form; some highlights were at the Sarega Dance Festival in Orissa, India, The Santa Cruz Fringe Fest, and at Tandy Beal’s Dance Around the World at UCSC.
Carmela Woll is a dancer and attorney from Santa Cruz, California. After years as a Hip Hop Dancer, she began studying Odissi in 2011. She is honored to be a part of Shakti Bhakti Ensemble and to be under the tutelage of Revital Carroll. Highlights of her Odissi performances include: Sarega Dance Festival in Orissa, India; Tandy Beal’s “ArtSmart – Magic Carpet” at the Mello Center in Watsonville; and Dancing in the Streets/National Dance Week Santa Cruz.
Caitlin Hanna works as an archaeologist in Santa Cruz and lives in a happy old house with a big cranky orange cat (whom she loves). She first met Revital while studying Anthropology at the university. After some tropical adventuring, she came back to Odissi in 2013 with a new sense of passion and bodily intelligence. She sees Odissi as a delightful technology of transformation: Through practice she experiences the balance of masculine and feminine, form and flow, power and grace.
Gwendolyn Siler is a dance enthusiast and RN in Santa Cruz. She has been practicing Odissi with Revital since August of 2013. Odissi provides her with the opportunity to challenge her physically while engaging her mind. The experience has become a meditation for which she is profoundly grateful.
Sivani Lucy Jaime enjoys dance and movement through Odissi, Tango, T’ai Chi Ch’uan, Yoga and swimming. Her dance experience includes ballet, jazz, swing, and latin dance.
She first encountered Odissi watching a performance by Shakti Bhakti at the Cabrillo Festival in 2014. The fluid graceful movements of the dancers and the percussive musicality of their footwork was mesmerizing. She has been studying with Revital ever since, and has been performing with SBE since 2015. With a life long passion for eastern ancient cultures, she practices Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine in Capitola, CA.
Jennifer Radakovich earned her MA in Dance (Ethnology) from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has lectured and led workshops on Serbian, Samoan, Hawaiian, Tahitian and Korean dance, dance and gender and Labanotation at universities across the U.S. and in Seoul, Korea. Jennifer performs with Shakti Bhakti, Hula School of Santa Cruz, Modern Collective Dance Company and is the artistic director for the Kolo Sisters. She currently organizes performances and outreach programs for Tandy Beal & Company and the Santa Cruz World Arts Festival.
Frances Hatfield fell wildly in love with Odissi dance when she saw Shakti Bhakti perform for the first time in December 2012. She feels that learning to dance Odissi has changed her life and continues to bring her great joy. She is a grandmother, poet, and psychotherapist living in Santa Cruz, California.
She has performed with SBE in "Shakti Rising", "Ocean of Bliss", and "Lotus Moon".
Dara Daniels lifelong love of yoga, dance, and Eastern spirituality finally brought her to India in 2010 where she began her studies in the Odissi style of classical Indian dance. Since then she had the blessing of continuing her training in Ashland, Oregon until she re-met her teacher, Revital Carroll during August of 2013. The joy and connection she instantly felt dancing with Shakti Bhakti Ensemble inspired her recent move to Santa Cruz where she is also pursuing her other passions of teaching yoga and practicing holistic massage and bodywork.
Rachael Corinne Sanborn began dancing as a toddler, and continued with ballet until falling in love with Bharata Natyam in 2002. Rachael studied yoga and Bharata Natyam with master teachers Sofia Diaz, Laurissa Eifler, Aggie Brenneman, and Srimati Shyamala Mohanraj, proteges of T. Balasaraswati. Rachael has taught dance and yoga since 2006 and has performed in festivals across the United States. Rachael began studying with Revital Carroll in 2015 and is honored to perform with such a dedicated troupe of dancers.
Romy discovered her love for dance as a young adult in 2000, following years of gymnastics, martial arts and yoga practices. Her first dance form was Afro-Brazilian, which opened her to new realms of creativity and freedom! Romy has been honored toperform alongside her respected teachers Marsea Marquis, Dandha DaHora and Stephanie Emmanuel Engel. She continues to explore different dance styles and remains open to the powerful lessons and wisdom that lie embedded in the riches of music and dance. Romy Narayan Joined SBE in 2016, and she is greatly enchanted and moved by the depth and intricacy of this art form.
Michelle lives life as a Sacred Dance, connecting to the Divine through heartfelt expressions. With a playful and loving heart, she have danced all types of dance forms, with most of her background in belly dance. Michelle was introduced to Odissi dance through a Temple Tribal Fusion workshop, December 2014. This workshop lead her to find Revital and Shakti Bhakti Ensemble. Michelle is delighted to be learning this art form and honored to be apart of SBE!
For Jennifer dancing Odissi is a magical experience! Learning Odissi has engaged her body, mind and spirit, like yoga, and develops her capacity for creativity, expression, and fluidity. She is inspired by the dance and Revital’s teaching and interpretation of Odissi. Jennifer’s passions outside of dance include traditional healing arts, world travel, writing, and empowering women.
Melani Liu fell in love with Odissi in 2012, when she attended her first class with Revital. Her years of dance and yoga practice was turned upside down when she encountered what she describes as “the single most physically challenging” activity with which she has ever engaged. Through her practice of Odissi, she’s found the gratification of devotion and the joy of her own sensuality. When Melani’s not practicing dance, she can be found voraciously hunting for new music, drinking tea, and practicing Chinese Medicine.
Andrea Farkas discovered Odissi while traveling in India. She started learning in the traditional way – by living in her teacher’s home in rural India sharing music, dance, and daily life with him and his family. For the following three years Odissi became her main focus, following her teacher and studying intensively. She has performed in India, Europe, and the U.S. In 2011 she left her gypsy life and settled in Santa Cruz as a full-time mom. She is delighted to have found Shakti Bhakti so she can continue dancing Odissi, which gives her such great joy, as well as a devotional community.
Shauna discovered Odissi in 2009 at a workshops series taught by Revital Carroll. After a second workshop series in 2010, Shauna moved to Santa Cruz to study regularly with Revital. Through Odissi, Shauna experiences great enrichment, fulfillment, satisfaction, and self growth. Odissi challenges her in every way, and demands that she becomes a better person. Through this dance form, Shauna experiences a unique calmness and quietness in her mind and her center, while her body is moving quickly and fluidly. She then practices taking this attitude with her into her daily life. Most profoundly, Odissi has taught Shauna to interact with the world openly from her heart.