By Kedar Mishra
Photo Credit: Arabinda Mohapatra
It was fluid silver all around and panel of black statues swinging like flowers in spring. Konark, the monumental marvel of Odissi imagination came alive in a mystic moonlit night, sang the old lore of glory and packed into stone, once the moon faded down. That is the story, that one was a glimpse of glory. Coming from the finale of Dhauli Kalinga Festival, one comes with images of statues dancing, singing, talking, making love, playing Veena or Mridanga, and living life in full. The statues in Konark were not stones, they were lives frozen in black silence. Many years back Guru Gangadhar Pradhan envisioned a night like this and since then that has become immortal as a brilliant choreography in the history of Odissi. Thankfully his students from Orissa Dance Academy, led by his ace disciple Aruna Mohanty, upheld that glorious legacy by enacting Konark Lasya Leela in the concluding evening of 10th Dhauli Kalinga Utsav.
Show Must Go On
February 16, the second evening of the festival was almost a wash out. It was untimely pouring that made the possibility of festival a gloomy one. But inflammable spirit of the organizers and dancers invigorated the evening to look for a smaller but better stage. In a small indoor hall B.Bhanumati, renowned Bharatnatyam dancer and choreographer presented her crisp-charming-touching all hearts compositions and truly it was a delight to watch her young dancers showing their deep involvement with the joy of dance. Starting with a traditional Mallari, invoking god she went up offering tributes to wishes, seers, swaras and lord of art. In five minutes she narrated the whole story of Ramayana, taking Lata Mangeskar’s rendition of Ram Charit Manas- Sri Rama Chandra kripalu bhajo mana. She ended her show with an enchanting Thillana. In the martial segment Raibanshe dance of Bengal elated the rainy spirit and musical aerobics of Sarbhuj Dance Theatre was simply awesome. Dona Ganguly and her Diksha Manjari group presented Aravi Pallavi and Durga, with no much impact.
Story of a Moonlit Night
The finale on February 17 opened up a treasure of creative energy from host organization’s a couple of production. The little Gotipua dancers from ODA showed a power packed composition, presenting with sophistication and discipline. Then came, Lasya Dance Company, Mumbai’s Kathak troup led by versatile Rajashree Shirke. Taking rain and spring as crux of their theme, the beautiful dancers went on elaborating moods of sessions. Concluding with a traditional Chaturanga, they failed to spring up the real excitement of Kathak, as there was lack of sound in footwork and recorded music was too loud with extra bass. Orissa Dance Academy’s Konark Lasya Leela was the show stealer and as usual the highly polished dancers of ODA proved their impeccable track record. Ramahari Das’s soothing music complemented the choreography like moonbeam complementing the mystic silence in Konark. Finally, a highly energetic Malkhamb dancers from Puri showed up their marvelous muscle power blended with creative designs.
Dhauli Kalinga Festival concluded with great hope and promise and credit must go to it’s team leader Aruna Mohanty and her collaborators, but with a little disconcerting note that, the festival excluded folk dance from it’s menu, though the biggest award of the festival has been bestowed upon a folk legend; Maguni Charan Kuanr, the master puppeteer of Odisha.