National Chhau Dance Fest in Bhubaneswar
Pics courtesy: Odisha Tourism

June 4, 2013

Reduced to two days due to inclement weather, the 3-day National Chhau Dance Festival organised by Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi started on May 29 with great enthusiasm at Rabindra Mandap, Bhubaneswar. The festival held under the auspices of Department of Tourism & Culture featured some brilliant items from the three different styles of Chhau dance and attracted the connoisseurs despite incessant rain.


Radha Krishna

Peacock Dance

Dandi Mahabharata


The first program was ‘Ratri’ based on Seraikella Chhau by Acharya Chhau Nrutya Bichitra, New Delhi, which personifies into a Goddess to protect from evil forces of the darkness. This was followed by ‘Peacock Dance’ depicting the beauty, majesty and grandeur. The last presentation was ‘Radha Krishna’ depicting their eternal love. The choreography was by Guru Sashadhar Acharya.

The second program of the evening was ‘Dandi Mahabharata’ presented by Angika, Bhubaneswar, which portrayed Sakuni as the main game planner and conspirator to eliminate the Kauravas. The item choreographed by Guru Sadashiva Pradhan was more theatrical punctuated with music and dialogue. The ‘Mahishasuramardini’ episode by Sitalapur Chhau Dance Party, Purulia, had a vigorous presentation with a lot of acrobatics and body movements adding flavor to the colourful masks of different characters. This was followed by ‘Deva Deva Mahadeva’ and ‘Adinrutya’ by the reputed Dhakshinasahi Chhau Nrutya Pratisthan, Baripada. The concluding program was ‘Abhimanyu Badha’ based on Mahabharata by Bamanaghati Chhau Nrutya Pratisthan, Rairangpur. The episodes exhibited how Abhimanyu, the young warrior son of Arjuna, took up the challenge with undaunted courage but failed to come out of the Charkravyuha and was mercilessly killed by seven Kauravas after giving a brave fight.


Krishna & other mythological characters


The first program of the concluding evening was ‘Jhalak’ by Mayura Art Centre, Bhubaneswar, showcasing different body gestures with intricacies of leg movements of Mayurbhanj Chhau style followed by ‘Sagarsangam’ depicting the union of river with sea. The second program was Seraikella Chhau by Rajakiya Chhau Nritya Kendra, Seraikella, who presented ‘Shrusti’ portraying the relationship between nature and human beings. Their next item was ‘Ratri’ based on Ratrisukta of Rig Veda on removing the evils of darkness followed by ‘Chandrabhaga,’ the tragic love behind the creation of the great Sun Temple of Konark.

The artistes of Swarnachuda Chhau Institute of Nilagiri presented the war dances consequent upon their victory in the battle. The next presentation was ‘Mahishasuramardini’ by artistes of Sebajatna Chhau Prashikshana Kendra, Purulia, who by their vigorous acrobatic movements and nimble stepping embellished with brilliant colourful masks mesmerized the audience. The last item was ‘Shradhanjali’ by Nichhuapada Uttarsashi Chhau Nrutya Pratisthan, Moroda, Mayurbhanj depicting the evolution of Chhau dance with war dance followed by Shiva, Krishna and other mythical characters giving a fitting tribute to the gurus and royal personalities who contributed to the promotion of Chhau dance. The dance was marked for its rhythmic complexities.

The program was conducted on both evenings by Dr. Mrutunjaya Rath and Sanghati Pani.