Guru Gangadhar Pradhan was born on July 10, 1948, in Parikul village in Puri district of Odisha. As a young boy, he enlisted himself in a Gotipua mandali that paved the path for his being chosen to join the Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, which produced very few noteworthy dancers of calibre, with Gangadhar Pradhan being among the few exceptions. At the Mahavidyalaya, he was trained both by adiguru Pankaj Charan Das (who taught such luminaries as Yamini Krishnamurti and Ritha Devi).
In 1973, Guru Gangadhar started a dance institute Natya Loka at Bhubaneswar, which later was renamed as Orissa Dance Academy. In 1979, scholar-activist Dhiren Patnaik was made its President and recently, it was taken over by his ace disciple Aruna Mohanty. Guru was always busy with creating either dance productions or dance festival venues like Dhauli and then Konark, much before even the state government thought of Konark as a national dance festival venue.
Guru Gangadhar Pradhan has to his credit several choreographies and dance dramas for both stage and television and may be regarded as on of the most dedicated masters and dynamic organizer for proper development of Odiya culture. He received the State Academy Award in 1993 and the National Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1998. He has trained and guided a number of well-known accomplished dancers and teachers, namely, Dipti Sahu, Aruna Mohanty, Minakshi Behera, Nandita Patnaik, Chapala Mishra, Mamata Nayak, Sarat Priya Patjoshi, Anita Babu, Kanduri Charan Behera, Bichitrananda Swain, Manoranjan Pradhan, Somnath Pradhan, Bibhuti Bhushan Balabantaray, Ramesh Jena, Sangeeta Hazarika, Ellora Patnaik and Durga Bor.