BHUBANESWAR: Eminent scholar and former president of the Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi, Dhirendra Nath Patnaik, passed away at his Cuttack residence on Thursday midnight following cardiac arrest. He was 75 and is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters.
Acknowledged as an authority of performing arts of Orissa, internationally acclaimed Patnaik was responsible for bringing together the founder fathers of Odissi dance together in late 50’s to get classical status for the art form through Jayantika Association of which he was the general secretary. A Central and State Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee, he was the founder principal of the prestigious Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya in Bhubaneswar. He was also the secretary of Orissa Sahitya Akademi and held several prestigious positions including chairperson of the International Odissi dance festival held in USA. He also led several delegations of Indian Council of Cultural Relations abroad.
Author of 16 books in English and Oriya, Patnaik’s scholarly articles were published in publications like the Marg, The Illustrated Weekly of India and Akademi’s journal. He has also scripted and choreographed eight dance ballets. Among his writings are Festivals of Orissa, Folk Theatres of Orissa, Chhow Dance of Mayurbhanj, Folk Dances of Orissa and Abhinab Chandrika.
He had been honoured with Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra award, Nrutya Nayak title by Chandigarh Prachin Kala Kendra.
His body was taken in a procession to the Kala Vikash Kendra, Cuttack, Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi, Odissi Research Centre and the Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya in Bhubaneswar where several prominent artistes apart from Culture Minister SN Patro paid their last respects. His mortal remains were consigned to flames in Puri on Friday evening.