An odyssey of dance

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Event A collage of dances by star performers marked the Ekamra Dance Fest. SHYAMHARI CHAKRA

Into its 11th edition, the annual Ekamra dance festival being hosted in Bhubaneswar by young Odissi guru Pitambar Biswal’s Suravi Odissi dance institute has emerged as a platform for the aspiring and acclaimed young Indian classical dancers.

The four-day festival, staged at Jayadev Bhawan recently, was one such occasion where we watched some of such soloists.

The festival featured two star dancers of Odissi – Leena Mohanty and Madhusmita Mohanty. Both winners of the prestigious Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Prativa Puraskar from the Sangeet Natak Akademi, they were honoured with the Suravi Samman of the year during the festival. The honour goes to two outstanding Odissi dancers each year belonging to the two distinct gharanas of Odissi established by late Gurus Debaprasad Das and Kelucharan Mohapatra.

Disciple of late Guru Debaprasad Das and Guru Durga Charan Ranbir, US-based Leena is known as a leading dancer representing the style. She performed with élan and excelled both in the pure and expressional aspects of dance. But, what touched this reviewer more was her brush with choreography. The Madhyamadi pallabi she choreographed, replete with complex patterns of movements and footwork , premiered with live orchestra and was a treat for all. It spoke volumes of her future as an intelligent and creative choreographer catering to the style and the tradition.

Madhusmita Mohanty, the other Suravi Samman recipient, also impressed with her concert – Krishna Madhuri – a collage of compositions on Krishna conceptualised by her Guru and well-known dancer Aruna Mohanty.

In Odissi segment, Sunita Sahoo, disciple of Guru Pitambar Biswal, was a pleasant surprise with her amazing presentation of expressional dance. Host Suravi’s students made four neat group presentations while real life couple dancers Manoranjan-Raseswari staged a duet.

Three young dancers belonging to three different Indian classical dance styles – Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and Kathak – were featured in the festival. Mumbai-based Bharatanatyam dancer Prachi Saathi’s portrayal of Ardhanariswara depicting the tandava and lasya elements in the human body through the characters of Shiva and Parvati was an apt articulation.

Achuta Manasa, the budding but gifted Kuchipudi dancer from Hyderabad, captivated the audience with her power-packed presentation of Durga and Mahishasura.

Kolkata-based Kathak dancer Amarta Chatterjee’s invocatory presentation for Lord Nataraj — angikam bhubanam yashya – followed by execution of the jhaptaal – a composition by Pandit Birju Maharaj was impressive. She concluded her concert with an abhinaya on Krishna and Radha - Kanha tose hari chodo saree – for which Pandit Birju Maharaj has also scored the music.

The inaugural evening has a captivating concert – Vadya Madhuri - of percussion instruments conceived and conducted by mardal exponent Guru Dhaneswar Swain.




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