IT is the mission of Guru Meera Das, the founder of Cuttack-based Gunjan Dance Academy, to preserve the purity of traditional Odissi dance and present it on stage. Their performance, titled ‘Sublime, Serene & Soulful’, held on Friday evening at Experimental Theatre of National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), is an endeavour in this regard.
Das, who is currently visiting Mumbai accompanied by a group of dancers from the academy, is a renowned dancer and teacher who believes in adhering to the classical art’s traditional methods. “What I have learnt from my gurus, I would like to present it before the audience as well as to pass it on to my students,” she says.
The show ‘Sublime, Serene & Soulful’ at Experimental Theatre had three segments giving an insight into the unique beauty and rhythm of this classical dance form. The other attraction of the evening was the Kathak performance by Sandip Mallick, tittled ‘Upalabdhi’.
The final segment of Gunjan’s show at NCPA, titled ‘Sei Ramani (That Woman)’, choreographed by Das, celebrates the spirit and strength of a woman. It is based on a poem by Fakir Mohan Senapati, Odisha’s most venerated litterateur. It is juxtaposed with poems of Ramakant Rath and Kedar Mishra.
It is worrisome for her that “people are slowly losing interest” in the tradition. “My vision is to create a new repertoire keeping the Odissi grammar and style in mind,” says Das, who set up the academy in 1995. The Cuttack-based guru believes that dance pieces should “offer glimpses into the tradition” as well as make it engrossing for the audience. She was trained under the guidance of the late Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra at Odissi Research Centre.
On Sunday, the artistes of the academy will perform at Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi. Along with the staging of ‘Sei Ramani’, there will be a solo performance by Das and other special dance compositions.
Entry to Gunjan Sandhya at Ravindra Natya Mandir on Sunday at 7.30 is free.
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