Bid to stage world record in Odissi dance

Team effort!Odissi dancers performing as part of the attempt to create a world record at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday.— Photo: AFP  

Only 550 artistes participate against expected 3,000 dancers

After Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, the third Indian classical dance of Odissi attempted to set a world record with a performance by the largest number of dancers together here on Friday afternoon.

At the Kalinga Stadium in the capital, 550 young Odissi dancers performed the traditional repertoire of Odissi like mangalacharan, batu, sthayee, abhinaya and mokshya together for 28 minutes. While young Odissi Guru Ratikant Mohapatra directed the event, noted Odissi musician Ramahari Das scored the music. Odisha Tourism and the State-owned Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Research Centre (ORC) in association with US-based Indian Performing Arts Promotions (IPAP) staged the show.

While 1,000 Bharatanatyam dancers performed together under the direction of legendary Padma Subramaniam at the ancient Brahmeswar temple complex in Tamil Nadu setting the record a few years ago, 2,860 Kuchipudi dancers had performed together at the CMC Balyogi stadium in Hyderabad on December 23 last year in the presence of President Pratibha Patil to set the world record.

Though the hosts of the Odissi event had announced to break the world record set by the Kuchipudi dancers by putting 3,000 Odissi artistes, they had to be content with 550 dancers. While the President of India could not be invited as hyped by the hosts over the months, there were no officials from the Guinness Book of World Records to announce the record as was seen in Hyderabad. They even failed to invite the Governor and the Chief Minister to the event despite the Chief Minister being the chairman of the ORC that staged the show.

Empty stadium

The 50,000 crowd-capacity stadium was looking almost empty when the two-hour show was held.

“In just six decades, Odissi has spread to all continents and there are thousands of dancers pursuing it today. When the State government planned such a show in the land of Odissi, it should have shown the strength of the Odissi community. While the number was too little, not a single established dancer was seen in the group presentation. It was a pity,” remarked arts critic and commentator Kedar Mishra. Tourism and Culture Minister Prafulla Samal, MP Prasanna Patsani, Chief Secretary Bijay Patnaik, Commissioner of Tourism and Culture A.K.Tripathy, and IPAP President Pratap Das were present at the inaugural ceremony.

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