Odissi Academy

A not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization

About Us

Odissi dancer standing in a graceful pose, adorned in traditional costume and makeup

The Odissi Academy, founded in 2016 and nestled in the heart of Texas, stands as a beacon of the illustrious Odissi tradition. This non-profit cultural institution enjoys the distinction of being a 501(c)3 organization, offering young enthusiasts a portal to explore the opulent cultural heritage of Odisha, India. Headquartered in Houston, operating in Austin and San Antonio, this hub of artistic expression annually welcomes esteemed maestros from Bhubaneswar, India, who bestow upon students the elegance and grandeur of Odissi dance, thereby forging a connection with its profound historical roots.

Its main objective is to promote Odissi culture, people, and art forms of Odisha through the teaching of its dance & music form, Odissi, to the younger generation in the United States of America. Orissa/Odisha is a state in Eastern India, that is overflowing with rich heritage and culture, and our mission is to provide an outlet for that creativity for the rest of the world. To completely immerse students in the Odissi dance form, teachers from the epicenter of Odissi – Bhubaneswar, Odisha, taught by world-famous Gurus, Dancers, and Choreographer from the land of Odissi, annually come and conduct workshops and lessons for students, further connecting them with the incredible dance form.

Directors on the Board of Odissi Academy

Mary Renee George (Director: 2020-, President: 2018-20,  Vice President: 2016-18)

A dedicated lover of Indian dance and culture, she is involved in the promotion of Indian classical dances, Bharatnatyam, Mohiniyattam, and Odissi in Bangalore, India, and Houston, Texas. She is a senior Clinical Child Psychologist and Asst. Professor at Baylor College of Medicine and practices at Texas Children’s Hospital in Texas Medical Center, Houston.


Sarita Das (President: 2020-, Vice President: 2018-20)

Mrs. Sarita Das has been a senior corporate executive with British Petroleum in Houston since 2006. Prior to this position, she worked for various corporations in the USA and India in the Information Technology vertical. She grew up in Mumbai, India, and worked for Television channels in India. She is an immigrant in the US with a deep root in Indian Performing Arts (Music and Dance).


Sangeeta Saikia (Vice President: 2020-, Secretary: 2018-20)

Dr. Mrs. Sangeeta Saikia, MD, a renowned Cardiologist in Texas practices at Houston Methodist in Houston. She was born and grew up in Guwahati, Assam, India. She came from a family of Arts and Culture. Dr. Saikia grew up with arts and culture under the influence of her father Padmashree Dr. Bhabendra Nath Saikia, who dedicated his life to literature, culture, and cinema of Assam. Dr. Saikia is very active in performing arts & Indian cinema circuits in Houston.


Liga Vildere (Director: 2018-)

Mrs. Liga Vildere is from Eastern Europe and settled in Greater Houston Metro over the past several decades. She is a professional violin artist.  Dedicated her life to teaching and performing violin. She is deeply influenced by Indian Music and often plays violin to Indian songs and music.


Valerie Mayer (Director: 2018-)

Valerie Mayer was born and raised in Lima, Peru. Upon graduating with a B.S. in Communications from the University of Lima, she worked 19 years for the South American advertising industries in Peru, Chile, Argentina, and California, as a broadcast producer. In 2007 she joined Lopez Negrete Communications in Houston TX– one of the largest and most influential Hispanic agencies in the US. Her passion and a deep interest in Social Communication, and her curiosity for the advertising human ingredient lead her to re-engineer her profession. By 2008, Valerie was unfolding her skills as Spanish Consecutive Interpreter working for Masterword Services Inc. and Accessible Signs, servicing all the major hospitals and institutions, such as Hermann Hospital, Saint Joseph Hospital, Woman’s Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and the Office of Immigration and Refugee Affairs, just to name a few. Valerie is a CMI Spanish and the Supervisor for the Language Assistance Department at MD Anderson Cancer Center at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, TX. Currently, Valerie is the Medical Interpreter for the Blue Bird Clinic for Pediatric Neurology at Texas Children’s Hospital. She is an active member of TAHIT, HITA, ATA, NCIHC, IMIA, and has participated as guest speaker for the course for Medical Interpreters at the Houston Community College for Health Care Providers Coleman College from 2013. Besides interpreting, her husband and she are photographers, music lovers, and have very active participation in attending to different cultural events around Texas and Mexico. Valerie is much honored to be part of the organization which promotes the beautiful classical Indian Odissi Performing Arts.


Anuranjita Nayak (President: 2016-2018, Director: 2016-)

Dr. Mrs. Anuranjita Nayak, MD, FAAN, learned Odissi Classical Dance from Ganjam Kala Parishad at a very young age in her home state of Orissa, India. Unlike other Odissi dancers, she had to let go of her Odissi dance career due to higher education and a professional career. After immigrating to the USA, she resumed learning Odissi from Guru Swati Mahalaxmi in Gainesville, Florida. She also continued Odissi learning from Gurus at Odissi Academy. She is a physician, MD (Pediatrics) in India, and worked at renowned hospitals in New Delhi, India for five years before migrating to the USA. She is an American Board certified in Pediatrics, Neurology, Neurophysiology, and Epilepsy. She is currently working as a faculty at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, and practices as a Pediatric Neurologist and Epileptologist, with Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Medical Center Houston.


Siddhartha Nayak (Director: 2016-)

A dedicated community worker, and a philanthropist with a focus on helping lower-income sections of society through jobs and education in his home country India. Helped in an organization of Odissi shows Rudrakshya-2008, Gatha Odissi-2013, and Odissi & Yoga-2014 in the US. Through Odissi Academy, he is aiming to encourage better financial opportunities for budding Odissi Gurus from India to teach state-of-the-art Odissi here in the US which ultimately helps sustain this ancient dance form. He is an entrepreneur and management consultant by profession and runs a Visual Communication Consulting business in Houston.

We are a 100% not-for-profit organization, registered with the Secretary of State, the state of Texas, and the Internal Revenue Service of the Federal Government of the United States of America. IRS charter with 501.c.3 to Odissi Academy.