Event; A few good performances stood out at the Mukteswar Dance Festival.
Billed as an Odissi dancer's ultimate dream destination, the annual Mukteswar dance festival hosted in Orissa's capital city of Bhubaneswar by the Orissa Government recently lost its appeal this year with several poor and mediocre performances. Yet, it witnessed peerless performances by five future faces of Odissi who deserve a discussion.
Performing as a soloist, Rajashri Praharaj, disciple of Bhubaneswar-based young Odissi Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, exhibited her excellent grip over techniques and stamina that indicated the dancer's hard work and dedication to dance as a career.
Though slim and short in height, her powered body language could duly portray the epic characters like Shiva, Rama and Ravana while presenting Shiv Vandana and Meera bhajan. Sonali Mohapatra, the other soloist, emerged as a dancer of amazing spontaneity.
Never did she appear laboured. It was rather her dance of delight. Disciple of the distinguished Guru Durga Charan Ranbir, her perfection in presentation of the pure and expressional aspects of dancing made it difficult to believe that she has been hearing-impaired.
Shashwati Garai and Ayona Bhaduri, both based in Kolkata and under the guidance of noted dancer-choreographer Sharmila Biswas, have already made a mark in the international dance circuits as members of Sharmila's troupe and Bengaluru-based Nrityagram dance ensemble respectively — Ayona graduated from Nrityagram.
Their duet gave glimpses of their bright future as star soloists. Both tall and slim, they convincingly complemented each other while executing the duet dance number of Shiv-Parwati Sabda; one highlighting the tandav and the other the lasya effects. While Shashwati is gifted with grace in abundance, Ayona has a pair of powerful eyes that literally pierce into the audience. Together they danced into the hearts of the connoisseurs.
Though dancing a duet with her male counterpart Biswajit Das, Orissa Dance Academy's Janhabi Behera stood out with her eloquence and intensity while essaying the feelings of a romantic Radha.
Disciple of distinguished dancer Aruna Mohanty, eroticism met spiritualism in her limb language giving glimpses of due internalisation of her art.