A national-level fest highlighted new creations in Odissi by young and established dancers and choreographers.

Close on the heels of the national festival of dance choreography hosted in Bhubaneswar by the Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi, a New Delhi-based nongovernmental organisation Sankalp staged a national festival of new creations in Odissi dance much to the cheer of connoisseurs and artistes' fraternity of the capital city.

The five-day festival, a brain-child of dancer-teacher-choreographer Kasturi Patnaik, featured works of established and up and coming choreographers that included Ileana Citaristi, Aruna Mohanty, Bichitrananda Swain, Ratikant Mohapatra, Meera Das, Sangeeta Dash, Sujata Mishra, Niranjan Rout, Manoranjan Pradhan, Gajendra Panda, Subas Swain, Dona Ganguly and Nirad Kumar Dehury.

Billed as a national festival, the event missed out several nationally acclaimed choreographers like Madhavi Mudgal, Sharmila Biswas, Surupa Sen and Kavita Dwivedy who are known for their innovative creations. Yet, it offered an opportunity to come across path-breaking compositions of other dancer-choreographers.

The festival director Kasturi Patnaik emerged as the find of the festival as a brilliant choreographer. Four of her presentations — Charukeshi pallabi, Hamsadhwani pallabi, Gha Champua and Sriram Vanada — spoke volumes of her calibre. She also composed music for two of her choreographies.

Meera Das was the other acclaimed dancer of the festival who also exhibited her potential as a choreographer. Her solo presentation of Jaya Sankha-Gadadhara in invocatory mangalacharan, abhinaya set to an ashtapadi of Jayadev and her troupe's Indradhanu gave glimpses of her refreshing approach to dance choreography.

Puducherry-based dancer Sangeeta Dash also excelled in her intense presentation of the expressional episode from poet Kalidas' Meghadootam, both as dancer and choreographer.

Anandi Ramachandram from Mumbai made her debut as a choreographer with her creation Nayika based on a Kalidas composition.

Established choreographers — Bichitrananda Swain, Aruna Mohanty, Ileana Citaristi and Ratikant Mohapatra — staged their latest productions adding attraction to the festival.

Bichitrananda's power-packed Devi and the lyrical-melodious Mohana murati number, Aruna's intensity-laden Bhumisuta Sita, Ileana's Belaboli pallabi and Ratikant's Ravana as the real hero of The Ramayana were a treat for the audience.

SankalpA seminar to deliberate on the new creations presented in the festival would have enhanced the appeal of the festival.