BHUBANESWAR: The fifth edition of Odissi International, organised by Bhubaneswar-based cultural group Samskriti, was a global reunion of Odissi dancers and connoisseurs. With Odissi dancers from across the globe giving marathon performances for eight hours daily for a week, the festival showcased solo, duet and group performances at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan recently.
Artistes from several other countries including Russia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, France, Germany, Italy, Japan , South Africa, the US, Ukraine, Singapore and Muscat also took part in the unique get-together of Odissi’s global fraternity. Focus of the festival was on discovering new talents and promoting solo and group presentations. This year, the festival saw 16 group performances including the opening and the closing numbers.
While the festival was opened by six students of Adruta, an orphanage, it was followed by solo dance recital by Preetisha Mohapatra, granddaughter of legendary Odissi maestro Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and daughter disciple of Gurus Ratikant and Sujata Mohapatra. The festival’s highlight was a pure dance number by Bangalore’s four-year-old Shrinika Purohit. The little girl left a lasting impression with her invocation to Lord Ganesh, which was complete with body movements and facial expressions. Both Preetisha and Shrinika’s dance spoke volumes about their future as potential solo artistes. Like Shrinika, Arshia Desarkar from the US and Odisha Dance Academy’s Bhumika Bhabapriya Mohanty performed in a special ‘Wonder Kids of Odissi’ section.
In the first session during the morning, the event saw about 20 children and teenaged dancers present their solo acts in the children’s talent search segment for the Odissi Pratibha title. The last session of the festival saw a kaleidoscope of recitals by the most famous Odissi dancers and stalwarts including the senior most Odissi performer 81-year-old Minati Mishra, who paid a tribute to Lord Shiva. Young and acclaimed Rahul Acharya shared the stage on the closing evening with senior dancers like Sujata Mohapatra, Meera Das and Aruna Mohanty. Srjan’s Rajashri Praharaj and Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Prativa Puraskar awardees like Sonali Mohapatra and Leena Mohanty also staged impressive performances.
“Year after year, we are overwhelmed by the cooperation of members of the Odissi fraternity. Not only do they take care of their own travel and accommodation, they also pool in funds for other logistics involved in organising the festival. This makes our festival a unique get-together and the fifth edition was no different,” said eminent Odissi musician and chairman of the organising committee, Ramahari Das. The festival concluded on December 24.