Dance Dance

Konark Dance Festival: Pride of Odisha

Balinese group

Balinese group  

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The Konark Dance Festival stood out for its beautiful ambiance and select performances

The beautiful festival venue of the Sun Temple at Konark stands majestic in the backdrop of which the Konark Dance festival is conducted every year from December 1-5. No dance festival venue is as beautifully decked up as Konark with its pretty Pipli lamps and lighting, which lends it a magic aura that draws full house of audience. Konark Dance Festival is the jewel of Odissa Tourism.

The festival started off with Ratikanta Mohapatra presenting his disciples in a salutation to Surya. The youngsters danced their hearts out in the beautiful piece.

Shama Bhate’s students come across as supremely confident set of young girls, well nurtured by their guru. It was disappointing not to see Shama Bhate conducting the recital but the youngsters took charge and presented their skills of Kathak. Set at a pace which is refreshingly different from the express speed at which Kathak and other dance forms are often rendered, Shama Bhate has a stamp of her own.

Swapnarani Sinha came away as the surprise package of the entire festival. The presentation of relatively unknown dancer on day three was par excellence. Coming from a small town like Angul, her students were excellently trained and her choreographies were very intelligently done in the Deba Prasad school of Odissi. The pieces ‘Agni Stuti’ and ‘Triveni’ stood out brilliantly. She credited her art to her guru, the maestro Durga Charan Ranbir. Guru Ramhari Das and Guru Dhaneswar Swain provided the rich musical accompaniment.

Aloka Kanungo’s group though neat in their presentation lacked the rich technique of Odissi in their dance. The choreographies were mediocre but the still formations captivated the audiences.

The Bali group, which gave the international touch to the festival made for a mediocre presentation. Dance from Bali is incomplete without the Gamelan music accompanying it. One wondered why the Bali group presented only for 30 minutes coming all the way to India and without the accompanying music ensemble. They presented a welcome dance and the episode of ‘Jatayu Moksha’ from Ramayan.

Jayabrabha Menon and her students were masterly in the presentation of Mohiniyattam and kept the audiences mesmerised. Her choreographies ‘Nagatatvam’ and ‘Sapta Jiva’ were a bold attempt at presenting high philosophical content of dormant energy in a human that rises through the chakras for man to attain self-actualisation on a stage like Konark. But the presentation was so gripping that none moved from their seats.

The maestros Raja - Radha Reddy with their team were applauded by the critics for their masterly choreographies in Kuchipudi and well trained dancers dancing beautifully as was Vaibhav Arekar for Bharatanatyam. Gajendra Panda’s experimental production of Odissi and Guru Kelucharan Mohapotra Odissi Research Centre’s presentations got lukewarm reception from the critics. This critic could not witness the last performances.

The live coverage of the festival by the Doordarshan could not relay the beauty of the dance on the stage. The camera angles did justice neither to the technique nor to the choreographies and especially the formations. The close up shots too were ineffective in capturing the spirit of dance. Dancing for the camera and the camera capturing the beauty of classical dance is a specialised subject, which has not yet been understood and explored by the dancers and the broadcasters alike.

The relay was a perfect example of how witnessing a live performance can never replace seeing it on screen; for dance is ephemeral and is in the moment with myriad dimensions that no camera can capture.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 4:52:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/konark-dance-festival-pride-of-odisha/article30296759.ece

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