Oxford stage for Odissi recitals

Danseuse hopes to take dance form to larger mass

By ANWESHA AMBALY in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 4.05.16
Baisali Mohanty

Bhubaneswar, May 3: An Odissi dance festival will be staged at the Oxford University on May 27.

"The festival christened as Oxford Odissi Fest will be the first-ever event of its kind to be hosted at the Oxford University," said Odia danseuse Baisali Mohanty, who is doing her master's in international studies at the varsity.

The Oxford Odissi Centre is organising the festival, in collaboration with the Oxford India Society and the Indian high commission in London. In December last, Baisali had founded the centre, which is a dance hub.

The centre, apart from holding regular Odissi dance classes for members of the university, conducts Odissi workshops at other world-renowned institutions in United Kingdom, including the University of Cambridge, London School of Economics, University College London, King's College London, University of Manchester and the University of Edinburgh.

"A host of dignitaries, including the Indian high commissioner to UK and other senior functionaries at the Indian high commission, the proctor and members of congregation of the university, will attend the festival. Through the event, we hope to spread the 2000-year-old Odissi tradition to a larger mass," said Baisali.

A number of British artistes, parliamentarians and diplomats are also expected to attend the festival. A photographic exhibition on the history of Odissi dance will also be on display at the auditorium foyer.

The festival to be held at the Magdalen Grove auditorium of the varsity will include performances by renowned Odissi exponent Ileana Citaristi, along with that of Baisali.

"A number of solo and group performances will also be staged at the festival. Dancers from 11 countries studying at the varsity will stage various Odissi recitals," said Baisali, who is also the external relations director of the Oxford India Society.

The festival will also include jugalbandi of Odissi dance with Kathak, Bharatnatyam and Mohiniyattam.

The dancer hailing from Puri admits that there is a great demand for Odissi among the youths there. "They are aware of the dance form and have showed immense interest in learning it. So, when I made the proposal for the centre to the university authorities, they readily agreed," said Baisali, a trained dancer under the tutelage of Odissi guru Gangadhar Pradhan.

She further said there were plans to conduct more such festivals and invite a number of Odissi artistes from Odisha to perform and conduct workshops for the students of the varsity.