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Odissi Utsav at Hyderabad: A Journey into the Grace and Beauty of Odissi Dance

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Celebrating the Grace and Beauty of Odissi Dance: A Review of Hyderabad Odissi Utsav

Review by Anna Rao G

THEME: Odissi is the languorous but mesmerizing dance of Orissa. It is characterised by the typical threefold stance of the body depicted and frozen in stone sculptures of many Temples.The odissi dancers present in Hyderabad combined together in an association to present Hyderabad Odissi Utsav.

They include Gurus Preeti Mohapatra, Priyanka Mishra, Debashree Patnaik, Arpita Pani and others who have organised this festival to showcase the jewel of Odia culture as a treat to the evening audience at Lamakaan.The idea originated with senior Critic Shyamhari Chakra. Some of the Gurus took part in the performances which were for the most part consisting of students of all age groups who put in outstanding performances doing their best.The opening song was the composition Nabadurga performed by Sampriti Mohanty where the fierce Mother Goddess kills Demons disturbing the peace of the World and restores calm to the Universe.


LORD GANESHA: The first item conforming to traditional odissi repertoire is the Mangalacharan. Fittingly the item chosen was Namami which praised Lord Ganesha. He is described as loving dance and with mighty tusks. He is the son of Shiva with a vast personality and bestows auspicious heralding to festive occasions. Saesha Mishra and Tanvi Upasana fittingly rendered the composition vibrantly.

CELEBRITY GUEST ARTISTE: Sangeeta Dash is a well known artist as well as film personality in Orissa. She graced the festival with her presence as well as putting in a stunning cameo role of Radha in the lilting ashtapadi composed by JayadevaYahi Madhava.The Heroine here is undergoing the sorrow of being separated from her beloved’s presence for the entire night.However when Krishna approaches her the following morning she is aghast to notice the weary traces on his face of  having passed a sleepless night.She instantly springs to the conclusion that he has betrayed her by dallying with another woman and in a tearful mixture of sorrow and anger rejects his advances.The entire audience was so moved as to share in the pathos so feelingly evoked.



PALLAVI: These are pure dance items akin to thillana in other southern classical dance forms. Here the facial expressions, body movements and complex patterning of the limbs render the chosen raga which distinguishes the particular pallavi. The items slowly unfold as it were like the opening petals of a flower. Slowly increasing in speed a final peak of energetic flashes of dance is reached. Basant pallavi was done by the students of Debashree Patnaik and Bijayalakshmi nayak did kalavati pallavi respectively with finesse exploring the contours of the raga interpreting it through a gently flowing stream of movements.


SHIVA AND PARVATI: Asthasambhu is a mostly expression based dance giving scope for a delectable abhinaya orientation. Authored by Kavi Venkateswar in malkosh it was well done by Purnima Piyali. Sanjukta Ghosh in Shiva Parvati Shabda portrayed the contrasting masculine and feminine energies of dance (tandava and lasya) which both contrast and complement but working together harmonise wholesomely.

LORD KRISHNA: Akshita Mohapatra excelled in Khede Chhanda.The exploits of Krishna were described in riveting scenes of abhinaya and nritta as the Rakshasa Shatakasura was killed and the Snake Kaliya was subdued and danced upon. The author was Poet Banamali Das who also entrancingly depicts the bafflement of Mother Yashoda being shown the whole world in Baby Krishna’s mouth! Akshita was splendid in this scene.The talent of the young dancer will, it is hoped, continue to blossom.


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