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BUILDING UP BEAUTIFUL STORIES

Classical dance requires vigorous practice and a supple, slim body. Thorough learning is an absolute necessity to be a commendable dancer. Antardrishti, an evening of Odissi, featured a brilliant group of dancers whose perfect learning was evident in their performance. It was pleasing to watch a group of slim dancers on stage.

Conceived and choreographed by Ratikant Mohapatra, the son of the illustrious maestro, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, the production showed that classical dance has its own rich heritage and there are no shortcuts to learn this art form. Mohapatra has carved out for himself a unique niche as a dancer, teacher, choreographer and percussionist. Presented by his institution, Srjan, the evening at the Satyajit Ray Auditorium began with “Ardhanarishwar”, a wonderful piece of choreography by Kelucharan Mohapatra which was re-choreographed by Ratikant as a group presentation. This reviewer still remembers this item as performed by the late Sanjukta Panigrahi, accompanied by her husband, the late Raghunath Panigrahi, in song.

The entire Srjan troupe displayed their precision in the chauk, tribhangi, the basic positions of Odissi, bhramari or pirouette and swinging body movements, which added a richness to the presentation and enabled the dancers to do justice to the choreography.

The main attraction of the evening was Geetamritam, a neo-classical innovation in Odissi which depicted that the entire universe has been created by the almighty and one should perform one’s duty only, and leave the rest to him. To elucidate this central philosophy, the choreographer used various props for his innovative choreography; even though it was called a neo-classical innovation, it was predominantly rooted in the classical style, which was its strong point.

Rajashri, Manosmita, Arpita, Aishwariya, Shipra, Pragna Paramita, Preetisha and Riyanka were the dancers. The music was brilliantly done by Bhubaneshwar Mishra and Satyabrata Katha. The programme was elegantly compered by Gauri Basu.

Shilpimon presented Hey Eka Sakha, a programme of songs and readings from Tagore, at the G.D. Birla Sabhagar. The reading of the splendid script was the high point of the programme. Arindam Bandyopadhyay began with “Tomae notun kore pabo bole” followed by “Ashim akashe”, a duet by Srovonti Bandyopadhyay and Arindam. The songs were interspersed with readings by the eminent theatre personality, Debshankar Haldar, and Sukriti Lahari. Both the talented artists were reserved, restrained and, at the same time, dramatic and emotional according to the script (done by Leena Gangopadhyay). They beautifully built up the story. Srovonti touched her listeners’ hearts with “Ki ragini bajale”.