Bhubaneswar Buzz

A tribute to Odissi Maestro Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra : an awesome compilation of his performance


Kelucharan Mohapatra, (born January 8, 1926, Raghurajpur, Odisha, India—died April 7, 2004, Bhubaneshwar), Indian dancer who led a 20th-century revival of odissi, a centuries-old style of dance associated with temples of Odisha and one of the principal forms of Indian classical dance.

Mohapatra was born to a family of artists who painted patachitras (religious folk paintings on thinly woven cloth). He trained and performed as a traditional dancer and drummer, studying in his youth with masters of odissi. In 1953 he began teaching odissi at a conservatory in Cuttack. Excelling in both technique and pantomimic expression, Mohapatra sought to expand the style’s traditional repertoire, making innovative use of forms from ancient texts and sculptures in his choreography. Mohapatra soon came to be regarded as a master of Indian classical dance, and his performances popularized odissi both in India and around the world.

He was totally immersed in Odissi. He resurrected odissi when it was at the verge of extinction. In 1994 he set up an organisation, ‘Srjan’ to impart training to students in Odissi dance. Many famous classical dancers such as Sanjukta Panigrahi, Kukum Mohanty, Sonal Mansingh, Priyambada Mohanty, Minati Mishra and Bhartanatyam dancer Yamini Krishamurthy are disciples of guru Kelucharan Mohapatra.

For his enormous contribution to Odissi, Kelucharan Mohapatra received many awards including Sangeet Natak Akademi award, 1966; Padma Shri, 1972; Padma Bhushan,1989; Padma Vibhushan, 2000; and Kalidas Samman from Madhya Pradesh government. To honor him the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra award was instituted in 1995. This annual award is given for the contribution in the field of art.

Courtesy : Britanica