By Kedar Mishra
Bhubaneswar: It was a poetic process of metamorphosis, from sword to flame and finally from flame to painting. A group of brilliant Thang Ta dancers from Anjika Dance Group, Kolkota set the stage of Dhauli Festival, literally on fire. Agni, a three layered performance in highly sophisticated style of martial dance Thang Ta from Manipur hooked out every beats from the heart. Conceptualized by veteran Manipuri dancer and choreographer Preeti Patel, Agni was a presentation, which can chase the hearts for a long long time. Indeed a brilliant start of the 10th Dhauli Kalinga Utsav, an assembly of classical, martial and folk dances of India, jointly organized by Department of Tourism, Government of Odisha and Orissa Dance Akademy. February 15, the inaugural evening at the historical site of Dhauli witnessed chivalry, might and aesthetic projection of courage, also youthful charm of a tender group of Odissi dancers.
Beginning of the Charm
Highly endowed flutist Srinibas Satpathy led a band with a sweet slow note on Raag Bairagi, mounting up to a high note and merged in the oceanic chant of Budhhist liberation. It was expected from Srinibas that he could have worked a little harder to bring up a different impression, something different, something as a souvenir to cherish for long. Of course, there is always a next time!
A young group of dancers from Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, led by their young and talented teachers Pankaj Pradhan and Baijayanti Madhusmita, came up as a bunch of fresh hope and presented a couple of beautiful compositions. They started with an invocatory piece Bishweswar Bandana, an offering to Lord Shiva set to Raag-Madhyamadi and Tal-Ektali followed by a Pallavi on same taal and raag. There concluding item was Dikshya -an Odissi dance drama, narrating the historic Kalinga war and the transformation of warrior king Ashoka to a Budhhist follower. First two pieces were well designed and well choreographed, but the dance drama part lacked imagination and was presented in a too obvious fashion.
Painting of Fire
It was fire all around, with lines and zeroes, with visuals of void and poetry in flaming movement. It was Thanga Ta, the martial art of Manipur by the students of Anjika, Kolkata led by Priti Patel created many a magical moments on stage with their skill and chivalry. It was a brilliant blend of philosophy with deeply practiced skill. Fire as an object and spirit, manifested its countless forms in speedily moving bodies of dancers and their weapons.
Dr. Arvinda Kumar Padhee, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Tourism & Culture; Dr. Minati Mishra, Eminent Danseuse and former Principal, Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya; Shri Manoranjan Patnaik, Director, Tourism; Shri Arabinda Sahoo, Director, Ruchi Masala and Guru Aruna Mohanty, Eminent Odissi Dancer were present on stage as guests The programme was compeered by Smt. Sangita Gosain and En. Srinivas Ghatuari.