Bangalore: Art and culture lovers in Bangalore are in for an Odishi treat this weekend with leading exponents set to take them through the entire repertoire of the classical dance.

The artistes will explain the varied techniques and nuances of Odishi, which art historian Ashish Mohan Khokar says is the second most learnt classical dance form after Bharatanatyam.

Bangaloreans are not new to Odishi dance, though its charm was somewhat overshadowed by the fame and exploits of its most well-known exponent in the city – the late Protima Bedi.

The Nrityagram (Dance Village) she set up on the outskirts of Bangalore still remains a tourist attraction though the dance performance and other cultural activities have almost stopped.

The Odishi dance fest on Sep 29 will feature leading dancers Madhulita Mohapatra, Argha Chatterjee, Vandana Supriya, Meghna Das and Shwetha Krishna, who are all Bangaloreans.

The performance and talk, entry to which is free, are part of the Dance DISCourse series initiated three years ago by Khokar, son of the celebrated art historian Mohan Khokar, “to bring closer the IT city with classical Indian arts”.

In association with Alliance Francaise, the French cultural centre in Bangalore, the initiative organises regular academic exchange on the state of the art of dance.

This is the third time Dance DISCourse is focussing on Odissi.

Spotlight of the first edition in 2010 was on treatises, traditions and trends in Odishi while last year it was ‘An Ode to Odishi’.

“This time, keeping the spirit of entertaining and enlightening, Dance DISCourse will feature the traditional repertoire of Odishi dance,” Madhulita Mohapatra, who moved to Bangalore from Odisha’s capital Bhubaneswar four years ago, told IANS.

Khokar and Madhulita have found Bangaloreans’ response to Odishi, not just to watch appreciate but to learn as well, encouraging.

At any given point of time around 500 Bangaloreans would be learning Odishi, Khokar said.

All the participants in the Sep 29 show at Alliance Francaise also teach Odishi.

“The city’s Odishi dancers such as Uday Shetty, Sharmila Mukherjee and Madhulita Mohapatra have made inroads and done much to teach and preach the form, winning for it new audiences,” Khokar said.

“Thanks to dedicated practitioners, Odissi is the fastest growing dance form in Bangalore today after Bharatanatyam,” said Madhulita.

She said while she started teaching four years ago, Shetty and Mukherjee have been doing so for at least 10 years.

Madhulita said she teaches around 200 students through her institution, Nrityantar.

Source: IANS