Bhubaneswar: Srjan in collaboration with GKCM Odissi Research Centre offered rich tribute to legendary Odissi dance Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra on his 94 birth anniversary presenting ‘ Antardrishti’- a dance composition on the theme of moving towards excellence- at Rabindra Mandap, here on Wednesday.

Atribute to the legendary dance maestro, the programme featured an amalgam of traditional dance presentations from the Odissi repertoire performed by the solo dancers as choreographed by Guruji himself, and compositions in the neo-classical style by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra presented by the Srjan ensemble.

The programme commenced with a group presentation by the Srjan ensemble, titled Antara Rama. This dance presentation, choreographed by Guru Ratikanta ,set to the music composition of late tabla maestro Pt.Nikhil Ghosh, and the support music of Rupak Kumar Parida, was a befitting inaugural piece. In this devotional song, the poet Kabir believes that the devotee, enlightened and engulfed with a powerful feeling of devotion, senses within himself a transformation from mere human to a state of divine grace. The choreography evokes the same devotion in the dancers and the audience alike,and was presented by the eight member ensemble with great poise.

This was followed by an Ashtapadi, Dheera Sameere by established and well reputed Odissi exponent Leena Nanda. A disciple of Guruji, Leena Nanda has contributed immensely to the field of Odissi as an able teacher and performer. Choreographed by Guruji, and set to the music composition of Pt. Bhubaneswar Mishra, in the Ashtapadi, DheeraSameere from 12th century poet, Jayadeva’s Geeta Govinda, the Sakhi entreats Radha to join Krishna, who is waiting for her on the banks of the Yamuna. Leena Nanda delved in to the nuances of this abhinaya, with deep understanding and emotion, highlighting her years of experience.

The third presentation for the evening was a pure dance piece, Kirvani Pallavi, choreographed by Guruji, and set to the music composition of Pt. Bhubaneswar Mishra, presented by Sushree Shivangi Panigrahi, student of Srjan and the grand daughter of legendary doyen, Sanjukta Panigrahi. Tastefully attired, Sushree presented this timeless dance composition, known for its unique movements and rhythmic patterns with neat execution and commendable footwork. Following in the foot steps her revered grand mother, Sushree is an upcoming dancer in the field of Odissi dance and a promising name in the future of Odissi.

Following this was an Odia Abhinaya, Braja Ku Choro… composed by the Guruji, to the music composition of Pt.Bhubaneswar Mishra, presented by eminent Odissi exponent and senior disciple of Guruji, Sikata Das. With decades of experience in the field, Sikata Das began her tryst with Odissi at a very young age and is known world over for her evocative and moving performances across India and abroad. A researcher, performer, teacher and worthy senior exponent of the Kelucharan Mohapatra gharana of Odissi, Sikata Das’ years of nuanced training under Guruji spoke forth as she presented Brajaku choro…, portraying with great artistry and expression, the part of mother Yashoda cajoling infant Krishna to sleep by saying that a thief entered in to Braja to steal him.

The evening concluded with an energetic and perfectly synchronised rendition of a neo-classical dance presentation by the Srjan ensemble, titled Kirwani Madhurima. While it continues to have the distinct character of a traditional Odissi choreograph, there are elements of contemporary dance expression which are used to heighten the appeal of novelty. Choreographed by Guru Ratikant, to the mellifluous music composition of Dr.Vyzarsu Balasubrahmanyam, Kirwani Madhurima showcased a wonderful amalgam of the classical and the contemporary, with novel elements in both the music and the dance movements.The dancers Ritu Sengupta, Pragna Parimita Das, Riyanka Chakrabarty, Aishwariya Singhdev, Sipra Swain, Preetisha Mohapatra, Reebdhita Barua, and Maya Krishnamurty displayed skill and good synergy throughout.

The appeal of the presentations was embellished by the brilliant light design of Debiprasad Mishra,who through the course of the evening, enhanced each presentation with his expertise and aesthetic lighting, bringing out the unique flavour and style of each dance. Mrutyunjay Rath compered the evening’s proceedings smoothly with great eloquence.

The evening was inaugurated with the lighting of the lamp by Dr. Sangita Gosain, chief executive, GKCMORC, and Ratikant Mohapatra, Director,Srjan.