Celebrating the legacy
As part of its ongoing series of Sanchayan - screening of archival films and video recordings, Sangeet Natak Akademi presented the screening of the most celebrated Odissi dancer and guru Kelucharan Mohapatra’s performance on Saturday, December 27 at Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Meghdoot Complex, Copernicus Marg in the Capital. This screening was of the performance from the Swarn Samaroh that was held in 1997 at New Delhi.
Kelucharan Mohapatra was among the great makers of dance in our times, an outstanding representative of India's classical dance heritage and the well-known pioneer associated with the recreation of its Orissan bani. He was born in 1926 in the village of Raghurajpur in Puri district of Orissa in a family of Patachitrakars. He was groomed as a dancer by Pankaj Charan Das and Dayal Saran. He also mastered various percussion instruments, especially Pakhawaj, learning from Agadhu Moharana, Khetra Mohan Kar, and Harihar Rao.
He joined Kala Vikas Kendra, Cuttack, in 1956 and enriching Odissi dance as a guru and choreographer. A dedicated teacher and prolific creator, Kelucharan Mohapatra trained a large number of dancers over the last four decades. Kelucharan created a number of dance compositions extending the technique and repertoire of the Odissi style. Together with his contemporaries and his teacher Shri Pankaj Charan Das, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra was responsible for establishing Odissi as a vibrant language of Indian classical dance.
He was honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1966), the Padma Shri (1972), the Padma Bhushan (1988), Kalidas Samman (1989), and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (1991).