Enduring traditions-Srjan presents annual student showcase Upasaranam

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Upasaranam 2024

Bhubaneswar, June 8:The stage of RabindraMandap witnessed the coming together of 58 young dancers of Srjan-Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Nrityabasa on the evening of June 8, as the world-renowned Odissi dance institution organised Upasaranam-Moving towards Excellence, the annual showcase of their students. The event was organised impeccably by Guru RatikantMohapatra, Director, Srjan, and Dean, Faculty of Arts Communication and Indic Studies (FACIS), Sri Sri University (SSU), Cuttack, and executed seamlessly after months of coordination, hard-work, and planning by ShriDebiprasad Mishra, Smt. Rajashri Praharaj, and Preetisha Mohapatra. Upasaranam unveiled the young talent that is being meticulously nurtured and groomed to be future faces of Odissi dance at Srjan as the young dancers conducted themselves with the confidence, energy, and discipline that is characteristic of Srjan.

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The evening commenced with the auspicious lighting of the lamp by esteemed guests,Suramani Shri Ramesh Chandra Das, renowned senior violin exponent; Shri Ashok Kumar Ghosal, Director, Nrutyashala and well-known Odissi dancer; and Dr.Pitambar Biswal, Director, Suravi, and noted Odissi guru, who inaugurated the proceedings and were then felicitated by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra.

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This was followed by the felicitation of the guest of honour of the evening, Padma Shri awardee and eminent Pattachitraartist of Odisha, Shri Binod Maharana. Hailing from a family of Chitrakaras, Shri Maharana is the first Pattachitra painter from Odisha to be conferred with a Padma Shri. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the National Award 1974 (All India Handicrafts Board, New Delhi), Viswakarma Citation 1983, Odisha Lalit Kala Akademi Award 1983, and Dharmapada Award 2019, to name a few. He has trained over 300 students in palm leaf carving and Patta painting at the State Institute of Handicraft Training, Bhubaneswar, and has been running a “Sunday School” for over 25 years now to train children in Chitrakala. His presence was a momentous occasion for the students and members of Srjan, who were blessed by the veteran artist for their hard work and efforts.

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The programme of Upasaranam commenced with VinayakaSmarane, in obeisance to Lord Ganesha, the eternal remover of obstacles. This memorable and effervescent choreography of Guru Ratikant Mohapatra was redesigned in a group composition by Smt. Rajashri Praharaj, senior Srjan faculty and renowned Odissi dancer. The dancers Amrita, Anushka, Dipranwita, Manyata, Shilpa, and Shreeya depicted the 12 wondrous names and qualities of Lord Ganeshawith good synergy and stage presence, making it a befitting invocation.

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This was followed by VasantPallavi, a timeless composition of Guru Shri Kelucharan Mohapatra. Redesigned for the evening’s group by AishwariyaSinghdev, senior Srjan ensemble member, this dance presentation was performed with neat footwork and clear movements by the dancers Angel, Ayushi, Shreyangshree, Saanvi, Chinmayee, Roshni, Deepanwita, Natasha, Susamparana, Sumera, and Trishna.

Srjan ensemble member, G Sanjay was in-charge of the renewed group composition of MatangiDhyanam, a hauntingly evocative obeisance to Goddess Matangi, choreographed by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra. The dancers Adyashri, Aisha, Akanksha, Akshita, Anushka, Bisakha, Kavya, Puspanjali, Ritisha, Saanvi, Subrajita, SaiSmruti, Shubhangi, Sreyansi, Swetlina, and Tejaswini depicted the formations beautifully and with good expressions.

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The fourth presentation was the technically demanding and evergreen Pallavi composed in Raga Shankarabharanamin the year 1965 by legendary Guru Shri Kelucharan Mohapatra. The dancers presented Shankarabharanam Pallavi in a renewed group composition by Sujata Pradhan, senior faculty at Srjan. Dancers Amrita, Anvika, Barsa, Navya, Shagun, Shreya, and Subhalaxmi showcased the innate beauty of this Pallavi with fast footwork and good understanding of rhythm.

The penultimate dance presentation was by the group comprising Archisha, Brahmi, Gayatri, Pratyasa, Satakshi, Shanvi, Shivangi, Somalin, Sulagna, Tanistha, and Sai Prasad. They presented Bhangi Chahan or“Bha” Champu from Kabi Surya Baladev Ratha’s celebrated anthology classic, Kishore Chandrananda Champu. Choreographed first in 1960 by Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, the evening’s rendition was in a renewed group composition by Preetisha Mohapatra, senior Srjan ensemble member. The dancers performed commendably, with dynamic formations and good stage presence, showcasing the indelible nature and intricacy of this age-old composition.

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The finale was Synthesis, a neo-classical Odissi dance rendition of the Shraddha Sooktam from the Rig Veda, with a unique musical arrangement, and captivating movements and stagecraft, directed and choreographed by GuruRatikantMohapatra. Dancers Amrita, Angelina, Dipranwita, Nishita, Prachi, Pritiprangya, SrutiJyoshna, Shilpa, Subhashree, and Sushree, presented Synthesis with good synchronisation and energy, trained under the able and meticulous guidance of Smt. Rajashri Praharaj.

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The students were aided in their presentations by the spectacular light designing of Shri Debi prasad Mishra, who brought the programme to life. Dr.Mrutyunjaya Rath ably conducted the proceedings of the evening. The evening was a resounding success, with the faculty, Srjan ensemble members, alumni, senior students, and parents all working to support the students in their journey in Odissi. Instituted by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra to foster and cultivate classicism and professionalism in dance and performance amongst young talentat Srjan, Upasaranamlived up to its name, highlighting the continuance of Srjan’s commitment to excellence in Odissi dance and a way of life in Art, while carrying forward the treasured legacy of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra.

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