Odissi festival spell-binds Delhi

Odissi festival spell-binds Delhi

Almost like celestial nymphs, young Odissi dancers descended on the cultural horizon of Delhi as part of an Odissi dance festival – Guru Parampara Fest 2012, recently. These dancers from five different schools of the dance form exhibited the styles of four acclaimed gurus in Odissi. Dressed in colourful traditional Odissi attires, they danced in groups, struck awe-inspiring sculpturesque poses and wooed all present at India Habitat Centre (IHC).

Patitapawan Kala Niketan, one of the few Odissi training schools in Delhi, organises this fest annually to celebrate the guru-shishya parampara which has given rise to various styles or gharanas in Odissi. This time, it paid an invocatory tribute to Guru Deb Prasad Das – one of the founding pillars of contemporary Odissi besides other doyens of this classical Eastern dance.

The Mohanty group of Patitapawan school first presented Sthai nrutya – originally composed by Guru Dev Prasad Das. A wonderful quartet of Prakash Mohanty, Pushpanjali Mohanty, Sangeeta Mohanty and Santosh Mohanty – director of Patitapawan Niketan presented it. Guru Santosh explained, “Sthai nrutya was employed by the maharis and devdasis of Puri temples as well as in the Gotipua tradition of dances. It is a pure dance form in the category of nrutta in which the dancers weave out different intricate foot work with distinct and charming poses.”

Next, the Ipsita Behoora group, representing the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra style, and Jyoti Srivastava group of the Guru Dev Prasad Das style, presented compositions Sankrabharanam Pallavi with Abhinaya Sreeta Kamala and Kalawati Pallavi. Rahul Varshney, one of the dancers, informed, “The word pallavi means a tender leaf. The dances in this style, therefore, begin with tender leaflet-like postures and then slowly develop into a beautiful bunch.”

The most delightful – Kavita Dwibedi group then rendered the Guru Hare Krushna Behera style. They presented the Shreet Kamala- an ashtapadi from Jaidev’s Geet Govind where the poet praises Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi. Their depiction of baal Krishna killing the serpent Kaalia in Yamuna and then lifting mountain Govardhan on his little finger was stunning. They followed it up with Moksha Nritta – a pure Nritta Anga performed in fast tempo taking the evening to total salvation.

The talented performers included Kaveri Behera, Aashna Jena, Reetuparna Vishwanath, Mohana Baidya, Arnaz Zamaan, Samruddhi Pradhan and Kalyani Behera.

Lastly, Jaya Mehta and Raudri Singh - disciples of Guru Pratibha Jena Singh presented Guru Surendra Nath Jena’s style. This style is inspired by Orissa’s rural culture and arts – jatra theatre, patachitra scrolls, talapatra paintings, Oriya texts and the exquisite temple sculptures of Lingaraj, Jagannath Puri, Konark and Chausatha Yogini.

They presented Kamboj Pallavi set in devlok where all the gods are present and damsels like Deva kanya, Gandharva kanya, Naag kanya and Yaksh kanya are competing to be judged the best dancer.

Evidently, it was a festival to please the Gods.