Shinjan Nrityalaya, headed by Aloka Kanungo, paid tribute to Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra and Guru Raghunath Dutta on March 22 at the Indian Council of Cultural Relations. Every year, they pay tribute to great gurus and this year was no exception. They presented a variety of Odissi dance items, all of which created a milieu of cultural bonds.

The programme started with a performance by Priyanka Kundu, 11, a student of Auxilium Convent School. She performed ‘Bottu’, which depicted various sculpture poses like ‘veena’, ‘benu’, ‘mardasla’, ‘alasa’, ‘darpana’, ‘archaka’, ‘and upadhan’.

Sarbani Sen who is a recognised choreographer and has performed at many prestigious programmes, took the stage after her. She presented an item ‘Durga’ which depicted different “ayudhas” or weapons of the mother. This item was in presented in Taal Mallika and Raag Mallika. Suhag Nalini Das was up next with her performance. From Bhubaneshwar, she performed ‘Ahalya’, recounting the story of Ahalya who was rescued by Lord Rama. The item has been choreographed by Guru Pankaj Charan Das and set to again various ‘taals’ & various ‘raags’.

Debi Basu, from Mumbai, danced to two beautifully created tunes. The first one an Oriya song  ‘Malli Mala Shyama Ku Debi’ set to raag chhayanat & taal jati. Her next item was ‘Pashyati Dishi Dishi’ an astapadi from Jayadeva’s ‘Geeta Govinda’. The last performance was by Kavita Dwibedi from New Delhi. With her own entourage of musicians, she performed ‘Mangalacharan’ and ‘Kanhi Gale’.

According to Aloka Kanungo, she tries to motivate the present generation to pursue Odissi as a career. Propagating Odissi has become important because although it has reached every nook and corner of the world, it has to survive heavy competition that might lead to its extinction.