BENGALURU: With an aim to bring together and showcase varied styles and schools of Odissi dance, a dance festival, Naman was organised by Odissi institute, Nrityantar in the city over the weekend. ‘Naman’, literally meaning ‘salutation’, paid tribute to great gurus of Odissi dance.
“It was an event where the audience not only got the opportunity to experience beauty, richness and nuances of different styles and schools of Odissi by their finest exponents but also got to appreciate contributions and works of the great gurus and pioneers,” says Madhulita Mohapatra, artistic director of Nrityantar Academy of Performing Arts.
The festival, which began in 2010 is probably the only one dedicated to Odissi. “Over the years, stalwarts from the Odissi world such as Sangeeta Dash, Aruna Mohanty, Sharmila Biswas, Bijayini Satapathy, Madhavi Mudgal and Surupa Sen have performed for the festival,” she says.
At Naman, performances include traditional pieces by founding gurus of Odissi dance as well as new-age classical innovations on contemporary themes and ideas. Though the festival focused primarily on the featured guest artistes selected by an expert committee comprising senior gurus and dance critics, the ninth edition also had a short dance piece by Nrityantar Dance Ensemble.
“This time, our ensemble presented a dance piece titled Ishwari, an ode to Devi. Music for the dance piece was composed by Sukanta Kundu and the rhythm composition was by Guru Dhaneswar Swain. Written by Sanskrit scholar, Pandit Shri Nityananda Mishra, this dance number, Ishwari eulogies three popular forms of the Goddess – Manikeshwari, Chamundeshwari and Durgeshwari,” she adds.
The dance piece opened on rhythmic beats of nisan, dhol and ghanta of traditional Sambalpuri folk music, as the Goddess Manikeshwari, the presiding deity of Kalahandi in the western part of Odisha is taken for popular Chhattar Jatra procession. “The choreography explored different attributes of Goddess Chamundeshwari and Durgeshwari, culminating in a crescendo of triumph of good over evil, as Devi Durga defeats and kills buffalo demon Mahishasura,” she says.