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Third Gurukrupa Nrutya Samaroha at Bhubaneswar
- Nita Vidyarthi
Photos courtesy: Debaprasad Nrutya Pratisthan

July 25, 2017

The third Gurukrupa Nrutya Samaroha organised by Debaprasad Nrutya Pratisthan, Bhubaneswar, at Bhanja Kala Mandap, saw some rare and outstanding performances by young and young established dancers in the field of different styles of Odissi. The festival was instituted by Gayatri Chand, a senior Odissi dancer and disciple of Guru Debaprasad Das and the founder and executive trustee of the Pratisthan, to offer a platform for solo performances to young dancers. The Pratisthan has been honouring and felicitating revered gurus of Odissi since last year. With 10 participants from different parts of the state and outside, the one-day festival was inaugurated by Chief Guest, Silpi Guru Dr. Raghunath Mohapatra in presence of Gurus Durgacharan Ranbir, Pt Ramhari Das, Pt Dhaneswar Swain and Dr. Sangeeta Gosain.

Award to Guru Gopikrushna Behera

The acclaimed 87-year-old Guru Gopikrushna Behera, choreographer, actor, dance director, composer and lyricist, famous for his "gaowali" (rural and folk songs) compositions and Bijayalaxmi Mohanty, the star disciple of Guru Debaprasad Das, remembered for her Bandha Nritya, were felicitated by Silpi Guru Maharana. It was rewarding to hear Guru Behera recite his inimitable rhythmic composition, steeped in humour on "Paan" (betel leaf) after his felicitation.

The performances began with the Durga Stuti "Jaya jaya durgati tarini" by the youngest dancer of the festival, Pranati Kuldeep from Adruta Children's Home, Bhubaneswar. She has agility and tried well to showcase her training. It needs to be mentioned here that Gayatri Chand considers talented and serious learners with lean opportunities in the selection process. Trupti Smita Taraini, a student of Guru Swayampagna Sahoo of Bhanjanagar requires more practice for the Bajrakanti Pallavi performed with Durgacharan Ranbir's choreography in ektali supported by Dhaneswar Swain on the rhythm with music by Sukanta Kundu. Gajendra Panda's disciple G. Nageshwari from Srikakulam brought out the poignancy and pleas of kavi Upendra Bhanja's famous Janana "Mano udharana karahe tarana" choreographed by Debaprasad Das, in taal triputa, with her refined abhinaya that had the stamp of her guru. Her gentle and controlled movements proved her training and understanding of the composition.

Pranati Kuldeep

G. Nageshwari


Aparupa Pattanaik

It was interesting to see a Gati Samikruta Pattadeep Pallavi performed with competence by well-trained Manikarnika of Delhi composed by her Guru Kasturi Pattanaik in ektali. The pure dance was incorporated with animal motifs of deer, swan, elephant and the like, generally reserved for choreographing dance dramas. Aparupa Pattanaik from Rourkela, trained under Durgacharan Ranbir, has a fine stage presence and enthralled with her graceful abhinaya of Upendra Bhanja's lovely composition "Srimati sripati vrundabaney keli rachile" set to lilting traditional music in raga Chhayanat. The choreography by Ranbir had a different flavour with the "tari jhum" of Pallavi introduced in between. Nazia Alam's singing added to the appeal of the number. Pompi Paul (Jalpaiguri), Poushali Mukherjee's disciple, presented Shringar Pallavi based on raga Ananda Bhairavi, ektali. She has good training but the forced smile on her face should be rejected for better effect. Also very lack-lustre was the ashtapadi "Srutakamala kuchamandala" choreographed by Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra.

The sole male dancer Manoj Pradhan from Sakshigopal danced like a man with long, stretched movements of the arms and legs. This disciple of Durgacharan Ranbir has solid training and a grip on rhythms and technique as was evident in the energetic Kalavati Pallavi in ektali. The delightfully graceful lyricism of his execution and impassionate abhinaya of "Sangini re chahon benupaniki" choreographed by Guru Debaprasad Das saw a dancer with talent and lots of promise.
Three performances with uncommon themes stood out. The city's own Jasaswini Swain trained under Guru Sanatan Nayak is a strong, consummate dancer with a slightly heavy frame and "Charchika Ashtakam" scripted by Guru Gopikrushna Behera on the goddess of the village Banki was the right choice for her. Choreographed by Guru Behera and Nayak, set to raga Rageshree, tala triputa, Jasaswini had all the expertise required to portray "Tarini tarini charchika ma" with vigour and neat energetic movements encompassing the stage. Her facial expressions for "Chinnamasta" drinking blood and spreading terror were opposed to the final poised stance of the goddess at peace. With Dhaneswar Swain's support on the rhythm and Sukanta Kundu on the vocals, the performance was indeed highly impactful.

Manoj Pradhan

Samikshya Pani

Jasaswini Swain

Pratibha Jena Singh

Young Samikshya Pani, disciple of Gayatri Chand, is a fine and graceful dancer and a confident one too to portray "Dwadasha Jyotirlingam." According to Chand, the theme has never been worked upon as an item separately either in Odissi or in any other classical dance form of India. The long piece portraying all the 12 lingams viz. Somnath, Mallikarjuna, Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar, Vaidyanath Bhimshankar, Rameswaram, Nageshwar, Kashi Vishwanath,Trimbakeshwar, Kedarnath and Grishneshwar were featured with distinct character, the best being that of Omkareshwar. Choreographed and arranged by Gayatri Chand, the soul-stirring music was by Ramhari Das set to Dhaneswar Swain's rhythm composition.

Pratibha Jena Singh of Delhi is one of the leading gurus, exponents of Odissi and primary archivist of the Guru Surendranath Jena style of Odissi. Her "Shakti rupa yogini" was a presentation out of the mundane, based on the Shakti pitha in Hirapur, Odisha, where a temple is dedicated to 64 Yoginis, described by the medieval Oriya poet Sarala Das as the manifestation emerging from the body of a single goddess, Devi Narayani. This dance composition, in Raga and Talamalika by Guru Surendranath Jena, inspired by the temple and the local devis of multiple villages in Odisha, recreates the primal power of these goddesses: energetic and ferocious. Guru Surendranath Jena brings together many elements of Oriya culture here, ranging across textual sources, to pervasive folk and tribal traditions, and yet structuring it within a strictly classical mode with mastery. An outstanding dancer, Pratibha's tall, stern presence with fierce facial expressions, intense eye movements with "Om Hring..." and "Namoh Narayani, Shankha, Chakra, Gada, Dhanurdharini" explored and exploited the Odissi technique with utmost possibilities. The music with temple bells and blowing of conch shells ushered in the dramatic thrust of the portrayal of Ugratara.

In the second section of the dance, the Devi herself is invoked. She is Mangala, she is the pestle necessary for husking rice; she is the broom of the house that cleanses; she is the protector from smallpox; she is the holder of the conch, the one who protects the fishermen at sea - a wonderful display of showcasing the flow of primordial energy with impact by a vivacious dancer.

Dr. Nita Vidyarthi is a veteran critic of performing arts and writes on dance, music and theatre in leading publications.