BHUBANESWAR: Showcasing scintillating solo and group performances by more than 200 Odissi dancers, the 26 {+t} {+h} annual dance festival of Orissa Dance Academy (ODA) - world's biggest Odissi institute - spread over two evenings was staged at Rabindra Mandap in the Capital that concluded on Friday.

Celebrated Odissi dancer and actress Minati Mishra, Culture and Tourism Minister Debi Prasad Mishra, eminent flutist Mohini Mohan Patnaik and former Culture Minister Damodar Raut (presently the Minister for Agriculture) joined the celebration as special guest and lauded ODA's significant contributions towards promotion of Odissi worldwide. ODA secretary and noted dancer-choreographer Aruna Mohanty, who conducted the festival, acknowledged the vision of ODA's founder Guru Gangadhar Pradhan in shaping of the institution and its contribution.

The highlight of the festival - named Nrutyambada - was Odissi dance drama Basudha based on celebrated Oriya poet late Radhamohan Gadanayak's immensely popular poem Mati (earth). Choreographed by Aruna Mohanty with music and rhythm compositions by Sukanta Kundu and Dhaneswar Swain respectively, the production portrayed how the earth has been the giver for ever and never been a receiver for which she was revered above the other elements like the light, air and water. The festival features choreographies of masters like Pankaj Charan Das, Kelucharan Mohapatra and Gangadhar Pradhan.