FRIDAY REVIEW

Young wonder

Urmila follows her dream.

Urmila follows her dream.  

A MARATHI girl taking to Odissi dance may not be all that novel today, with Odissi having ensnared dancers beyond the shores; but an accomplished Kathak dancer slowly but steadily falling in love with Odissi does strike a chord of novelty. Meet the young and ravishing Urmila Kanetkar, not yet 20 but already making waves in Mumbai as a dancer of great sensitivity. Always acknowledging the effort of her guru, Asha Joglekar, in shaping her talent, Urmila has been frequenting Bhubaneswar to learn Odissi under the tutelage of Sujata Mohapatra, eminent Odissi dancer and daughter-in-law of the late Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. Why Odissi? "I was won over by the lyricism of Odissi. It's so beautiful, with the entire body moving in languid grace. I hope to be a Odissi dancer of some accomplishment one day."

She had her initial training in Kathak under Joglekar at `Archana Nrityalaya', Mumbai, for 12 years. Urmila's big moment came in 1997 when she was hardly 12.

She participated in `Azadi Ki Jung', a major dance ballet organised in commemoration of 50 years of the country's independence by Rashtriya Seva Dal. The ballet was performed all over Maharashtra and drew rave reviews. She has done a number of stage shows so far, prominent being her participation in dance recitals in Maharashtra and USA in 2003 followed by solo, duet and group recitals in January 2004 at `Sundara Manamadhye Bharali' organised by Kalabhavan, USA, besides being selected to participate in classical dance ballet `Dasavatara' in Russia.

Mayur Vaidya is a senior dancer whom she remembers with a lot of respect and gratitude. "I owe a lot to him. He picked me up and I was noticed. In fact, I did a show to celebrate the golden jubilee of Taj International and he was the choreographer. That was in March 2004," she recalls. Urmila has imbibed the essence - both in vigour and softness - of all the three `gharanas' of Kathak and feels that there should be no compromise with the classical idiom of the form.

Winner of the prestigious V D Paluskar Award-2004 and Maneka Award-2004 for the best kathak dancer, Urmila has the world of classical dance beckoning her. But early success does not seem to have gone to her young head. "I know I have to work much harder and be much more mature. And when I dance Odissi, I would ensure that the purity of Kathak and Odissi are maintained in my recitals," she says.

B.M.

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