Profile Ayona Bhaduri is one of the promising future faces of Odissi.

Like a dark horse she came, performed and conquered hearts in the heartland of Odissi. She was Ayona Bhaduri, a young and brilliant Odissi dancer from neighbouring West Bengal who emerged as the most mature dancer in the recently concluded Udayaraga national festival for young Odissi soloists in Bhubaneswar. Hosted by Orissa Dance Academy to highlight the future faces of Odissi, the festival featured six dancers - including three male - from across the country who could be safely claimed as stars in the making.

At 30, Ayona, a proud product of late Protima Gauri Bedi's Nrityagram dance village near Bangalore, has more than 300 stage performances in India and abroad to her credit. Winner of titles like Nalanda Nritya Nipoona and Odissi Jyoti, she has been trained in the martial dances of Chhau, Kalaripayyattu and Chi-Gung (Chinese martial art); Flamenco, Aikido, South African contemporary dance, modern dance, Bharatanatyam and yoga. She has honed her skills under stalwarts like Kalanidhi Narayan, the queen of abhinaya, Navtej Singh Johar, Ramli Ibrahim, Sharmila Biswas and Sangeeta Dash besides being trained at the National Dance Institute, New York and Mark Morris Dance Company in the USA.

Though the Kolkata-born, Bengali girl excelled in academics and was selected for study in engineering, her parents' love for arts made her a professional dancer. She joined Nrityagram for a brief period of three months for an exposure to Odissi but could not come back for the next six years until she was groomed as a dancer of rare calibre. “Dance is a way of life at Nrityagram and that helped me to realize the relevance of dance as a life long affair. I was immensely inspired and guided by my teacher Bijayini Satapathy there, who is an internationally acclaimed dancer,” Ayona acknowledges.

Presently a dance administrator and a senior repertoire member with Odissi Movement and Vision Centre in Kolkata of acclaimed Odissi dancer-choreographer and Guru Sharmila Biswas, Ayona does not regret her decision of accepting the challenging career of an Indian classical dancer. “Classical dance as a career is a difficult one. Here one does not earn at par with other careers like in engineering or medicine. A dancer's life has less material gains but the joy and the sense of completeness that dancing brings can never be bartered for anything else. Dance integrates all - the body, mind and the soul. Dance has made me the person I am today, I couldn't ask for anything more,” she confides.

Keywords: Ayona Bhaduridance

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Body of work May 13, 2010