Choreographic work by Guru Mayadhar Raut will be showcased this Sunday

Guru Mayadhar Raut, who turned 80 a few days ago, has produced dancers that have taken Odissi across the world. If mortals have a potential for immortality, it is surely through such a path. Besides moulding dancers, he also created numerous dance compositions. Veteran Odissi dancer Kiran Segal, founder of Pallavi Odissi Nritya Sangeet Vidyalaya and a senior disciple of Guruji, points out, “A guru's worth is recognised by his disciples. In India when an artiste performs well, we immediately ask who is your guru.”

She has, for the past couple of years, been organising programmes to showcase Mayadhar Raut's dance compositions. This Sunday, she presents three young dancers who will perform pieces Guruji composed during his tenure at Shri Ram Bharatiya Kala Kendra in the 1970s. Her own disciples Supriya Nayak and Sumelika Bhattacharya will be joined by Nivedita Mohapatra, trained by another senior disciple of Mayadharji, Aloka Panikar.

“People will see how different the dancers are,” says Segal, her statement reiterating the accepted fact that true gurus do not produce clones off an assembly line but individual artistes, each with a unique quality. As for his choreographic approach, she recalls, “I have seen him working. What a thoughtful process he had.”

Besides pieces that form part of the usual repertoire of Odissi, like mangalacharan and pallavi, the dancers will present “Jaago Maheshwar”, which Guruji originally conceived of as a solo, but which Kiran has set for multiple dancers, with his permission, she adds.

(The programme takes place this Sunday, 6.30 p.m. at the India International Centre auditorium.)