Mukteswar Dance Festival: Coming alive with ankle bells

A DANCE TO WATCH Shalini Patnaik

A DANCE TO WATCH Shalini Patnaik   | Photo Credit: Arabinda Mohapatra

Odissi dancers showcased their mettle at the annual Mukteswar Dance Festival

Every year on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti, the three-day Mukteswar Dance Festival at Bhubaneswar is inaugurated at the 10th Century magnificent Mukteswar Temple, that comes alive with the ankle bells of reputed Odissi dancers from all over the country. Organised by the Odisha Tourism, the prestigious festival in solo, duet and group format opened this year, with a striking invocation “Mritunjaya Makaradhwajanashakaya” to Lord Mukteswar, the presiding deity, by Namrata Mehta, a senior disciple of Daksha Mashruwala. The “Prathana Vandana”, was composed by Pandit Nityananda Misra. In “Madhyama”, the Pallavi was set to the delightful ragas of Abhogi and Rageshree in talas Rupak and Triputa respectively. It was a captivating piece in terms of composition, execution and music. However, the Ashtapadi “Kishalaya Shyanataley” remained ordinary with the music and singing by Manoj Joshi overpowering the mediocre abhinaya. Bijan Palai and Rudraprasad Swain, versatile dancers trained at the Orissa Dance Academy by Guru Aruna Mohanty wove magic in their duet “Ektali”, Khamaj Pallavi set to Bijay Kumar Jena’s music in Mohanty’s choreography. “Sakha Bodha” scripted by Kedar Misra explored the confrontation in friendship between two sets of characters viz. Krishna and Arjuna and Karna and Duryodhana from Mahabharata. The otherwise interesting concept failed to appeal due to the lack of sequence and clarity in the script in spite of the dancers doing full justice to Mohanty’s fascinating choreography with the melodious musical support. Rojalin Mohapatra’s group began with a well- rehearsed “Bho Shambho” followed by an interesting tale of “Surpanaka” which brought to the fore her meditation at Pushkar desiring Lord Ram after being refused by the “Ekapatnibrata Purushottam” and humiliated by Lakshman in the Treta Yug and her rebirth as Kubja in the Dapar Yug . Credit must be given to Pandit Nityananda Misra to script the enriching piece embracing the “Brahmabaivarta Puran”. Rojalin appealed as Surpanakha; so did the refreshing pink and white costumes of the dancers even though the presentation was lack-lustre.

Best presentations

The second evening saw the best presentations in the festival beginning with “Panchabhuta” by a matured soloist Shalini Patnaik. Choreographed by Aruna Mohanty , set to music and singing by Ramhari Das, a gratifying “Panchabhuta” was followed by “Rudramangala”, an ode to Shiva. Armed with strong sense of balance, technical skills and understanding, Shalini brought alive the various manifestations of Rudra and his avatars confidently, doing justice to Mohanty’s choreography, Bijay Kumar Jena’s music and Kedar Misra’s enriching script. Her body inflections and graceful lyrical movements in “Surangani Kallolini Ganga” brought out the brilliance of the poetry and music. Here is a dancer to watch! “Bibhas Suddha Dhaivat Pallavi” the duet by Srjan’s well-trained Sipra Swain and Aiswarya Singhdev choreographed by Ratikant Mohapatra, set to music by Pradip Das showed their grip over rhythm followed by a competent “Ardhanareeswar” originally choreographed as a solo by Kelubabu and later as an imaginative duet by Ratikant set to the originally score of Guru Raghunath Panigrahi. The dancers kept Srjan’s flag flying with their riveting performance. “Padmavati”, scripted by Pandit Nityananda Misra based on the Odia legend “Kanchi Bijay”, set to Bijoy Jena’s music, choreographed by Debamitra Sengupta, and presented by her well-co-ordinated group, was the most popular group event of the festival. Debamitra made good use of the sprawling stage and the war scene between Kanchi and Gajapati Maharaja’s army was a pleasure to watch and kept the audience in hold till the end. Herself a charming dancer, she excelled as daiwali (curdseller).

The concluding evening began with obeisance to Mother Earth and a dampened Ravan Kruta Shiva Tandava by an otherwise accomplished dancer Gayatri Chand, a senior, learned disciple of Guru Debaprasad Das. She seemed to be not in best of form, also in the next piece Navarasa, choreographed by Das. The duet by well-groomed Sarita Misra and Manisha Manaswini was resplendent with grace and opalescence. Hamsadhwani Pallavi showed wonderful formations and execution with the intricacies and the complexities of the rhythm and vocal by Bijay Jena. The various attitude of Lord Krishna was brought out delicately in the Odia abhinaya “Sajani Mohana Murati Chhayilo” penned by Banamali. The curtain came down with the manglacharan “Shadadharachakrey”, an impressive Chandrika-Kamodi Pallavi and the vigorous presentation “Mahakali Stuti”by the powerful and involved dancers of Bichitrananda Swain and Group.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 6:47:52 PM |

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