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Dancers Excel at 20th Sanjukta Panigrahi Yuva Mohatsav


Mumbai-based Smitalay Academy of Odissi Dance organised the 20th Sanjukta Panigrahi Yuva Mohotsav on Friday 25th August at Veer Savarkar Auditorium. This one of its kind festival is an annual event organised as a mark of tribute to the legendary Odissi exponent, Sanjukta Panigrahi, and also to encourage young talent as platforms for young dancers are quite a few.

Sanjukta Panigrahi was among the pioneer performers to place Odissi on the international platform. Sanjukta was among the foremost disciple of legendary mentor, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, who gave a new dimension and intensity to the Odissi dance style. Sanjukta along with her singer husband, Pandit Raghunath Panigrahi and music composer Pandit Bhubaneshwat Mishra formed the unique trio that elevated the standard of Odissi and Pandit Kelucharan Mohapatra further refurbished the Odissi dance, enhancing its elegance and lyrical quality.

While most of the dancers performed well, the dancers who were outstanding were Aparna Sastry and Krishnendu Saha. For the first time, Marga Natya, a unique choreography initiative based on
classical movements and expressions, performed by Akash Mullick and Pinky Mondal from Kolkata, was unusual in its presentation and creativity.

The dancers featured in the festival were Gauresh Shetkar for Kathak, Ayana Mukherjee for Kuchipudi, Aparna Sastry for Bharata Natyam, Chitra Warrior for Mohiniattam, Rupali Kadam and Krishnendu Saha for Odissi. The entire duration of the festival was about four hours with half an hour time slot provided to each dancer but the duet performance was a little longer and the grand finale performance.

The first performer of the festival was Rupali Kadam, an ardent disciple of Guru Jhelum Paranjape. Although short and ordinary-looking, Rupali created a lasting impression with her complete involvement and performance, after the first dramatic interpretation of Lord Rama, Rupali performed the Simhendra Pallavi with effortless ease, elegance and precision.

Aparna Sastry presented a brilliant and elevating performance in the Bharata Natyam style. It was a delight to watch the Purandaradasa composition “Devarnama” come alive with her intense and powerful performance with the depiction of episodes of Prahlada and Narasimha avatara. Aparna’s abhinaya created a lasting spell on the audience.

Gauresh Shetkar, disciple of Guru Amruta Paranjape, commenced his Kathak performance with Krishna Vandana, revealing his command over “layakari” in the varied pure dance numbers, footwork and “pancham savari”. Gauresh concluded his fine performance with a number depicting Ravana.

Mohiniattam by Chitra Warrier was partially pleasing. In the Swati Thirunal composition, the dancer depicted the “Virahot Kantita nayika” as she suffers from the pangs of separation and is pierced by
Kamadeva’s arrows. One can definitely expect a better performance from Chitra in the near future

Ayana Mukherjee’s Kuchipudi was pleasing for its clarity of movements, elegance and precision while executing complex movements. It was delightful to watch her perform “Mahadeva Shiv Shambho” which concluded with rhythmic patterns danced on the rim of the brass plate.

Krishnendu Saha is a fine and powerful Odissi dancer, a disciple of Guru Sharmila Biswas His interpretation of Dashavatara based on Jayadeva Geet Govind and theory of evolution based on Darwin’s theory casted a deep impact on the audience. His “angika abhinaya” and wonderful
command over movements was enthralling.

The finale performers Akash Mallick and Pinky Mondal from Kolkata performed Marga Natya based on the theatrical and technical aspects of the Natya Sastra with the inclusion of various “karanas” broadly subscribing to “nritta”, “geetam” and “abhinaya”. Marga Natya was established in 2013 by Piyal Bhattacharya after extensive research on the technical aspect of varied movements, forming a fine synthesis of movements, musical elements and expressions. The movements flow through the complete body in varied time cycles.It was a delight to watch the dynamic dancers Akash and Pinky. On the whole, it was a wonderful experience to watch eight dancers in different disciplines performing on the same platform as a mark of tribute to the great diva of Odissi dance.

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