Award for danseuse at Odissi gala - Five-day line-up of artistes

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 17.01.08

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 17: In the forties Laxmipriya Mohapatra, wife of legendary Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, was the first dancer to present Odissi on stage — inspiring many women to follow suit.

Decades later, the first-generation Odissi danseuse was conferred the Adi Guru Pankaj Charan Das award by Gajapati King of Puri, Dibyasinhga Deb, in a glittering ceremony here last evening.

The award has been instituted in the memory of Padmashri Pankaj Charan Das by Guru Pankaj Udra Sanskruti Academy. Das was the first guru who trained Laxmipriya and her equally talented husband in Odissi.

The festival was launched last year as a tribute to Das often referred to as a “Guru of all Gurus” in Odissi.

“The break for Guru Kelucharan came with a solo piece in a dance-drama on Devi Bhasmasura. His performance as the Nataraja under the direction of Guru Pankaj Charan Das established him as a mature soloist. In the role of Mohini was Laxmipriya. From that day, till the time they married, they were always partners in all duets. Else Laxmipriya would dance to a rhythm provided by Guruji,” recalled Das.

Seventy-six year old Odissi singer Gopinath Tripathy, who performed on the occasion, was also felicitated. Veteran Indian classical dancer and scholar Ritha Devi was also honoured with a lifetime achievement award. A three-day dance and music festival at Jayadev Bhavan in association with the Calcutta-based Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre and eight prominent dance institutions of the state would follow the function.

The function has an impressive line-up — Jyoti Rot from USA, Kaori Naka from Japan, Vani Madhav from Bangalore and Rajnita Banerjee from Calcutta.

Local talents Madhusmita Mohanty, Arati Kar, Debasis Patnaik, Puspita Mishra, Sagnya Sucharita Nayak, Pallavi Das, Rojalin Srichandan, Trilochan Sahoo, Dusmanta Swain, Pratyasa Mohanty and Nirojlaxmi Baral from Bhubaneswar and Isha Satpathy from Cuttack would also be performing.