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Diptimayee Sahu: A potential abhinaya expert needs to be nurtured with care

Tridhara, Bhubaneswar and Debaprasad Kala Tirtha, Brahmapur celebrated an evening of Odissi. It was a solo recital named ‘Ekaika’, presented by Guru Gajendra Panda. Diptimahyee Sahu presented pieces that were choreographed by Guru Debaprasad Das, rearranged by her Guru Gajendra Panda.

With a group of selected musicians of the highest this technically advanced age in Odissi music, she sailed through her performance recently at Rabindra Mandap in Bhubaneswar. Famous musicians Guru Gopal Chandra Panda and Guru Ramahari Das had composed the music of her dance. Ukutas were by Guru Banamali Das, Dhaneswar Swain and Bijay Kumar Barik. Apart from the composition of music by stalwarts, she was accompanied by vocalists Binod Chandra Panda and Sangeeta Panda and Ramachandra Behera with the playing of his mardala –the most important instruments that accompany Odissi dance.

The audience at Rabindra Mandap Bhubaneswar got an opportunity to see a young and upcoming Odissi dancer of the vigorous style of the Debaprasad Das Gharana. Having paid obeisance to Krishna she launched off, performing one piece after another to show her proficiency in her chosen field. She made a mark in Sabinaya Pallavi, where she has a lot of scopes that must be harnessed to the hilt.

Her facial expressions along with corresponding body and limb movements make her a potential abhinaya expert. Most of the pieces chosen like the Odia abhinaya “Ki dekhili aaja mitani jamuna kule”, Nabarasa and the Astapadi Rase, Hari Miha Bihita Bilasam showed her ability to emote. She rounded off her recital with a very short moksha piece.

Odissi dance has gained much popularity with stalwart artists as well as performers of a lesser caliber, who have adopted it as a profession. The form has now emerged as the most popular traditional and classical dance forms of India. Globally there are mushrooming schools galore. To reach the top is a herculean task and this has to be kept in mind, before taking it up as a profession. Dance is an integral part of human beings’ existence. Whether one wants to be a professional artist, mentor, scholar or whatever one may wish to- even to be a rasika or an aficionado- one needs to have a thorough knowledge of dance. Appreciation of dance has grown in importance in leaps and bounds in the present times. Along with exposure to various subjects, one has also to be exposed to our dance forms, both classical as well as folk and tribal dance to know the kind of land one lives in.

Studying the theory of dance opens one’s vision to a plethora of fields like anthropological, sociological and such other aspects. The place and power of dance in human life need to be understood for which an in-depth study of its theory is needed. Dance is a cognitive science, which involves the explorations of the mind and body.

An understanding of the broader vision of dance is needed, as dance does not conform to a compartmentalized narrow vision.

It is the duty of the guru to give proper mentoring, which would give his students proper guidelines to follow.

To be a performer only narrows one’s vision. An aspirant may have all the qualities needed to be a teacher and not a performer. It is for the guru to expose their students to the various fields. Another important aspect, which people forget in the technically advanced age, is that a knowledge of music and drama are as important as rendering correct dance steps and postures typical to a dance form.

These observations of the stuff dance are made up off by this reviewer is a tip in the iceberg, which needs careful study.

Diptimayee Sahu’s passion for her chosen subject needs to be nurtured with care. Finding a guru is an upheaval task and I am sure that she is in the right hands.

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