Odissi dance festival to be staged on April 26 and 27

Odissi dancer Sonalika Padhi Purohit presents the second edition of the dance festival, Kala-dhi, in Bengaluru, which is a tribute to the legendary dancer-teacher Kelucharan Mohapatra

Published - April 25, 2024 10:09 am IST

Ratikant Mohaptra and his students will also perform at Kala-dhi

Ratikant Mohaptra and his students will also perform at Kala-dhi | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Odissi classical dance is considered one of the most sensual forms and mostly depicts the songs from Gita Govinda. The form, is inspired by the Gotipua dance from Odisha. The credit for popularising the dance form goes to legendary dancer-teacher, the late Kelucharan Mohapatra, who created most of the Odissi choreographies that are performed across the globe today.

Bengaluru- based dancer, Sonalika Padhi Purohit, wants to present that legacy of Kelu Babu (as he was affectionately known) through her dance festival, Kala-dhi. This is the second edition of the festival and will be staged on April 26 and 27.

The event will feature senior Odissi dancers including Sikata Das, Pranati Mohanty and Ratikanth Mohapatra and his dance ensemble, Srjan on the first day with Sonalika’s students from her dance school, Ekaagra Svarasa Academy, Bengaluru performing on the second day.

The aim, explains Sonalika over a call from her dance school in Whitefield, is to showcase the traditional form of Odissi. “That is why we have senior dancers who are direct students of Kelucharan Mohapatra. I believe as the dance is taught from one generation to another, there may be a tendency for the purity of the original form to be diluted. We want to retain the purity as we grow with the current generation of dancers.”

Dancer Sikata Das

Dancer Sikata Das | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Ratikanth, who is Kelu Babu’s son, is interested in the evolution of Odissi, Sonalika says. “This is where new movements are created with contemporary themes and ideas keeping in mind the traditional structure and form of Odissi. He will present a traditional dance piece choreographed by his father, while his students will present an evolution later in the evening.”

Sonalika started learning Odissi as a child and has won the Aekalavya Award, Nrita Ratna Award with titles such as Odissi Pratibha, Nritya Suvarna Shree and Nritya Shiromani. She started her training under Rabindra Swain and Sundar Lal Patel and currently pursues her dance studies under the guidance of Sikata Das and Pranati Mohanty.

Though having a masters in Biotechnology, 41-year-old Sonalika gave up her job as a scientist in Lucknow, to pursue Odissi. She even founded Ekaagra Svarasa Academy in Whitefield in 2017, and is currently compiling Odissi textbooks in English. In the decade that she has lived in Bengaluru, she has been actively involved in teaching Odissi to the students from the Siddapura Government School.

Sonalika Padhi Purohit 

Sonalika Padhi Purohit  | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“We focus on teaching not just dance, but also the historical and theoretical aspects of Odissi,” says the dancer, who has over 100 students training under her. The show, Sonalika says, is open to all. “We want to promote Odissi and bring in as many students to learn this dance form and preserve its authenticity and beauty for generations to come.”

Kala-dhi will be staged on April 26 and 27, 5.30pm onwards at ADA Rangamandira, JC Road. The event is open to all. 

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