The rhythm of her life

Madhulita Mohapatra. Photo: Bhagya Prakash  

Madhulita Mohapatra was always so “passionate” about dance that she recalls sneaking out of her house in the evenings, jumping off the compound wall and “run to a dance class near by. That was because my parents were conservative and preferred me to study rather than focus on dance. In fact, my father would wait till I sneaked back and give me a good spanking for disobeying him. I would cry myself to sleep and tell myself that I would never go against his wishes. But the next day it was a repeat of the same story,” laughs Madhulita, who today is a well-know Odissi dancer and lives in Bangalore and runs the Nrityantar Academy Of Performing Arts in Bangalore.

Born in Bhawanipatna (Western Orissa), Madhulita says, “there were no Odissi dance teachers there. So I decided to learn the Sambalpuri folk dance. I would try to imitate dancers like Sanjukta Panigraphi or Kelucharan guruji while I watched them on TV. My dreams to learn Odissi came true when I had to move to Bhuvaneshwar for my higher education.”

She soon joined the Orissa Dance Academy and was trained from teachers like the late Gangadhar Pradhan, Aruna Mohanty and Pabitra Kumar Pradhan. “I continued to please my parents by faring excellently in my education. Soon I completed my MBA too and they were thrilled.”

By this time she also finished her eight-year training in the dance academy and was married. “It was the support of my husband, Imraan that I found courage to quit my job and take to dancing full time. In fact, it was his job that brought us to Bangalore five years ago, and I started Nrityantar.”

Today, Madhulita is equally passionate about popularising Odissi dance. While she has her senior students taking care of her other classes, she personally takes interest to teach at Government schools in the city. “When I started they would address me as ‘Bharatanatya miss’, so I had to start with teaching them about the differences between the two forms and now I can boast that these children share my passion for Odissi.”

Madhulita has been organising an annual Odissi dance fest called Naman for the last five consecutive years. This year too Naman will be held on August 17. “The aim is to preserve the art for the next generation and to promote the art for the masses.”

This year Naman will feature Odissi dance recitals by Leena Mohanty, Nrityagram ensemble, and Kavita Dwibedi.

There will also be a panel discussion on the theme “Odissi outside Odisha – dancing in cultural diversity to pluralism” at 3.30 p.m. with dancers, teachers and scholars.

The performances begin at 5.30 p.m.

The venue is ADA Rangamandira, Bangalore.

For details, contact 42052233 or e-mail

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 12:41:38 AM |

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