Bhubaneswar: Pioneer of Odissi dance Padma Shri Minati Mishra passed away in Switzerland on Monday. She was 91.

One of the finest Odissi dance exponents, Minati Mishra has played a key role in making Odissi a classical dance. A contemporary of first-generation Odissi dance gurus Deba Prasad Das and Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, she had taken the classical dance of Odisha to abroad. She danced extensively in India and Europe. She had her doctorate degree in Odissi dance from Phillips University of Germany.

Minatri Mishra got Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1975 and Padma Shri in 2012.

Born in 1929 in Cuttack, she made a successful career in Odissi dance. She had also acted in five Odia movies.

The prima donna of Odissi dance of 1970s, Minati Mishra withdrew herself from the profession after her husband engineer Nityananda Mishra’s death in 1980 and finally retired in 1990. She settled in Switzerland and devoted her time for dance workshops, lecturer tours and dance festivals in Switzerland, Canada and India.

The Odisha chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, condoled the death of the Odissi dance exponent stating that she will be remembered for her contribution in the field of Odissi.