Bhubaneswar: Moving towards excellence and inspired by the genius of legendary Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, a collaboration between Srjan- Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Nrityabasa and Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Research Centre, was held at Rabindra Mandap, Bhubaneswar on January 8, 2020 to commemorate Guruji’s 94th Birth Anniversary.
A tribute to the legendary dance maestro, the programme featured an amalgam of traditional dance presentations from the Odissi repertoire performed by the solo dancers as choreographed by Guruji himself, and compositions in the neoclassical style by Shri Ratikant Mohapatra presented by the Srjan ensemble. The programme commenced with an invocatory group presentation by the Srjan ensemble, titled Antara Rama. This dance presentation, choreographed by Shri Ratikant Mohapatra, set to the music composition of late Tabla maestro Pt. Nikhil Ghosh, and the support music of Shri Rupak Kumar Parida, was a befitting inaugural piece.
In this devotional song, the poet Kabir believes that the devotee, enlightened and engulfed with a powerful feeling of devotion, senses within himself a transformation from mere human to a state of divine grace. The choreography evokes the same devotion in the dancers and audience alike, and was presented by the eight member ensemble with great poise.
This was followed by an Ashtapadi, Dheera Sameere by established and well reputed Odissi exponent Smt. Leena Nanda. A disciple of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Smt. Leena Nanda has contributed immensely to the field of Odissi as an able teacher and performer.
Choreographed by the legendary Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, and set to the music composition of Pt. Bhubaneswar Mishra, in the Ashtapadi, Dheera Sameere from 12th century poet, Jayadeva’s Geeta Govinda, the Sakhi entreats Radha to join Krishna, who is waiting for her on the banks of the Yamuna. Smt. Leena Nanda delved into the nuances of this abhinaya, with deep understanding and emotion, highlighting her years of experience.
The third presentation for the evening was a pure dance piece, Kirvani Pallavi, choreographed by Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, and set to the music composition of Pt. Bhubaneswar Mishra, presented by Sushree Shivangi Panigrahi, student of Srjan and the grand daughter of legendary doyen, Smt. Sanjukta Panigrahi. Tastefully attired, Sushree Shivangi Panigrahi presented this timeless dance composition, known for its unique movements and rhythmic patterns with neat execution and commendable footwork. Following in the footsteps of her revered grandmother, Sushree is an upcoming dancer in the field of Odissi dance and a promising name in the future of Odissi.
Following this was an Odia Abhinaya, Braja Ku Choro composed by the legendary Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, to the music composition of Pt. Bhubaneswar Mishra, presented by eminent Odissi exponent and senior disciple of Guruji, Smt. Sikata Das. With decades of experience in the field, Smt. Sikata Das began her tryst with Odissi at a very young age and is known world over for her evocative and moving performances across India and abroad.
A researcher, performer, teacher and worthy senior exponent of the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra gharana of Odissi, Smt. Sikata Das’s years of nuanced training under Guruji spoke forth as she presented Braja ku choro, portraying with great artistry and expression, the part of mother Yashoda cajoling infant Krishna to sleep by saying that a thief entered into Braja to steal him.
The evening concluded with an energetic and perfectly synchronised rendition of a neoclassical dance presentation by the Srjan ensemble, titled Kirwani Madhurima. While it continues to have the distinct character of a traditional Odissi choreograph, there are elements of contemporary dance expression which are used to heighten the appeal of novelty.
Choreographed by Shri Ratikant Mohapatra, to the mellifluous music composition of Dr. Vyzarsu Balasubrahmanyam, Kirwani Madhurima showcased a wonderful amalgam of the classical and the contemporary, with novel elements in both the music and the dance movements. The dancers Ritu Sengupta, Pragna Parimita Das, Riyanka Chakrabarty, Aishwariya Singhdev,Sipra Swain, Preetisha Mohapatra, Reebdhita Barua, and Maya Krishnamurty displayed skill and good synergy throughout.
The appeal of the presentations was embellished by the brilliant light design of Shri Debiprasad Mishra, who through the course of the evening, enhanced each presentation with his expertise and aesthetic lighting, bringing out the unique flavour and style of each dance. Shri Mrutyunjay Rath compered the evening’s proceedings smoothly with great eloquence.
The evening was inaugurated with the lighting of the lamp by the Chief Guest, along with Dr.Sangita Gosain, Chief Executive, GKCM ORC, and Shri Ratikant Mohapatra, Director, Srjan.Other respected members of the art community, luminaries, dancers, and critics joined the occasion to pay homage to Guruji, on his 94th birth anniversary. Antardrishti was a befitting tribute to Guruji, flawlessly organised with great attention to detail and professionalism by Shri Ratikant Mohapatra, Director, Srjan. Every year, January 8th marks the day when thousands of Guruji’s disciples and admirers gather all around the world to celebrate and carry forward his priceless legacy through a humble offering of dance, as presented by Srjan and other artistes today.