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Dancers step in to pay tribute

- Jyoti Srivastav from New Delhi receives Mahari award

Bhubaneswar, March 21: Odissi dancers from across the country gathered here to display several aspects of the dance form in honour of legendary guru Pankaj Charan Das.

At the 19th Guru Pankaj Utsav that concluded at the Rabindra Mandap here on Tuesday, young and veteran artistes demonstrated their repertoire on the first two days.

Five dancers performed solo recitals on all three days of the concert organised by Guru Pankaj Charan Odissi Research Foundation and the culture department.

Among the young dancers who illustrated genres such as the pallavi or pure dance sequences and some choreographies on dance enactments or abhinayas were Mumbai-based artistes Mitali Varadkar and Ankur Vasant Ballal, Aparupa Patnaik (Rourkela), Barkha Tanvir (New Delhi), Biswa Bhushan Mohapatra (Bangalore), Bhubaneswar-based dancers Swetaleena Patnaik, Bijaylaxmi Satpathy, Upasana Mohanty, Dibya Priyadarshini Das, Saibalini Tripathy and Jyoti Ranjan Das.

There were some memorable performances by veteran dancers such as Jhelam Paranjape from Mumbai, Bangalore’s Sharmila Mukherjee and Bhubaneswar’s Ratikant Mohapatra.

Each of the artistes portrayed the various emotions that drove human beings towards the divine through their abhinayas.

Delhi-based Jyoti Srivastav, who won the coveted Mahari award for Odissi dance, also gave a brilliant solo performance.

A disciple of Srinath Rout and eminent guru Durga Charan Ranbir, Jyoti has been associated with dance for 25 years now.

“I’m delighted that though I am not from Odisha, the connoisseurs here have recognised my efforts to develop Odissi outside the state. I am thankful to the people here for encouraging me,” she said after receiving her award on Tuesday evening.

The Mahari award is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the field of Odissi. Dancers such as Rupashree Mohapatra, Sujata Mohapatra, Aruna Mohanty, Aloka Kanungo, Meera Das and Kavita Dwivedi among others have received the award on earlier occasions. Last year, the prize went to Minati Pradhan.

“My father always promoted young talents. We also encourage solo performers. Not only does our special jury choose a dedicated dancer for the award, but we also select young promising dancers to perform at the festival every year,” said Sarat Das, director of the foundation and son of Pankaj Charan Das.