The Telegraph
Tuesday , December 27 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999

Dancers dazzle capital crowd

- Eight-day International Odissi Dance Festival shines with artistes from different parts of the world

(From top) Odissi dancers Arati Kar, Rahul Acharya and Gitanjali Acharya perform at Rabindra Mandap in Bhubaneswar. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 26: The revelry of the Odissi fraternity is at an all-time high as dancers from different nations are dazzling under the arc lights at the International Odissi Dance Festival.

The event features eminent names as well as promising artistes, who are performing at Rabindra Mandap every day during the eight-day festival.

After the inaugural event of 550 dancers performing simultaneously at Kalinga Stadium on Friday, the dance festival moved to the Rabindra Mandap auditorium, where noted dancers such as Sonal Mansingh, Illeana Citaristi, Sujata Mohapatra, Naba Mishra and many others showcased recitals on the first evening.

“We are lucky to see so many veteran and leading dancers perform one after another on the same stage. Different styles and compositions are being presented at one event. I will try to make sure that I don’t miss even a single performance at the festival,” said Shanti Tripathy, a viewer.

On Saturday, the first session of the day began with performances by dancers from across the globe. This included some graceful renditions by Nritta Ganeshi from Malaysia, Laurence Lebail from France, Phiono Lin from Taiwan and so on. The performances of Divya Saha (USA), Ulrika Larsen (Sweden), Douglas Ridings (USA), Shantona Bag (Australia) and Yuval Cohen (Israel) as well artistes from Malaysia-based Sutra dance company were impressive.

The evening session was a delightful collage of well-known dancers, including Gayatri Chand, Reena Jana, Muktilata Pal, Kavita Dwivedi, Sharon Lowen, Ramli Ibrahim, Jyoti Rout among others. More than 30 dancers performed solo on the second day.

Sunday also saw a host of solo renditions by Odissi dancers. Performances from Amanda Geroy (USA), Maria Laura Valdez (Peru), Shibani Patnaik (USA) and Masako Ono (Japan) kept the crowd on their feet. A piece on Keshi mathanamudaram was enacted by Canada-based septuagenarian dancer Menaka Thakar.

“It is like a dream for me to be dancing at such a mega festival of Odissi. Moreover, interacting with legendary dancers and talented artistes from different parts of the world has helped me learn more about the dance techniques,” said dancer Masako.

Apart from performances, a seminar is also being held every day at the Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya mini auditorium with veteran dancers and critics discussing topics related to Odissi dance.

The festival, organised by the state tourism and culture department, includes participation of about 1,000 artistes and will be on till December 30.