Bhubaneswar: The 18th annual Guru Pankaj Utsav, a dance festival of Odissi soloists, which is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of late Guru Pankaj Charan Das was inaugurated at Rabindra Mandap on Saturday.
The festival was inaugurated by Shri Ashok Kumar Tripathy, Principal Secretary, Tourism & Culture Department, Government of Odisha.
The inaugural evening of the three-day event organized by the Guru Pankaj Charan Odissi Research Foundation witnessed the performance of 5 renowned Odissi dancers namely Kalyani Sahu, Pompi Paul, Khyanaprava, Swapna Rani Sinha and Niladri Mohanty.
In order to encourage the artists in the field of Odissi, musicians Niranjan Patra, K Ramarao Patra, Meenakshi Behera and Arati Mishra were felicitated with the titles of ‘Madeli’, ‘Binakara’, ‘Nachuni Samprada’, and ‘Gauni Samprada’ respectively.
Odissi danseuse Dr. Minati Pradhan will be conferred the prestigious Mahari Award on the last day of the event. Dr. Minati will become the 18th recipient of the award given by the Guru Pankaj Charan Odissi Research Foundation.
The award carries a cash prize of rupees 25,000, a momento and a citation, which will be presented by His Excellency Sj. M.C. Bhandare, Hon’ble Governor of Odisha.
Instituted in the honour of Guru Pankaj Charan Das, the Mahari award is considered a big honour in the field of Odissi. Dancers such as Rupashree Mohapatra, Sujata Mohapatra, Aruna Mohanty, Aloka Kanungo, Meera Das, Kavita Dwivedi, Jhelum Paranjpe, Sangeeta Dash, Bijayini Satpathy, Leena Das and many others have been the recipients of the award in the past.
Among others, Veteran Odissi dancer Minati Mishra, NALCO CMD, B L Bagra, ICCR, Regional Rirector, Meenakshi Mishra were present.
The remaining two days of the event will see performances by Kaustavi Sarkar and Pompi Paul of Kolkata, Dhara Gandhi Dutta of Mumbai, Moumita Ghosh of New Delhi and Madhulita Mohapatra of Bangalore, Guru Braja Kishore Mallick, Mamata Satpathy, Nayana Patel, Lopamudra Jena, Manaswini Mohanty, Guru Gobind Chandra Pal besides the Mahari awardees.