Mesmerizing Odissi dance program at the HTGC

Chicago IL: The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago and Utkalaa Dance Academy jointly presented Orissa Dance Academy’s “Gatha Odissi – a journey from the temple to the stage” featuring brilliant performances by artists from the state of Orissa on Saturday, May 18 at the Sama Rathi Auditorium of the temple. A capacity filled crowd of more than 300 people enjoyed watching the vibrant dances, specially designed lighting effects and the audio with melodic songs.

The evening began with a prayer by priest Murali Kidambi and was followed by Usha Pariti, the Fine Arts chair and the temple’s vice president Mr. Bhima Reddy, who both welcomed the audiences to the evening’s program. Later, Madhavi Adivi and Ipsita Mahapatra introduced all the artists to the audience. It was Ipsita Mahapatra of Utkalaa Dance Academy, Chicago who was instrumental in bringing this amazing program to the temple.

The ballet program started with Kanch Pallavi, a dance composition by Aruna Mohanty, that depicted the chariot festival of Lord Jagannath (Rath Yathtra) in the traditional Odissi style. Aruna Mohanty explained that most of the traditions in Odisha (Orissa) are connected with the temple and the Lord Jagannath and that the basic dances that were offered by the devdaasis to the Lord have blossomed into what is called Odissi dancing.
The next segment was called “Ramayana Navarasa” that presented the seven rasas of the great epic “Ramayan” beginning with Veera rasa – the courage, followed by Bhayanaka rasa – the fear, Karuna rasa – the compassion, Adhbhutha rasa – the wonder, Vibhasya rasa – the disgust, Rudra rasa – the anger and Shantham – the peace and serenity. Language was never a barrier in understanding – most of the audiences who knew the language were able to enjoy the lyrical beauty of the presentation and yet others through the beautiful facial expressions graceful movements of the artists.

The segment after the break was about Lord Krishna called Krishna Saranam, Krishna’s message for the world today. Snippets from Mahabharatha were presented showing Lord Krishna’s childhood, the narrative of “Kurukshetra ” and the role of Sri Krishna in comforting Arjuna who was depressed at the thought of destruction that the great war was about to bring.

The final segment of the program was called “Swargadapi Gariyasi” combining the well known “Vandemahtaram” with other clips, presented in folk music style of Orissa.

Aruna Mohanty choreographed and starred in all the ballets along with her team of talented performers – Yudhisthir Nayak, Pabitra Kumar Pradhan, Biswajit Das, Arup Gayatri Panda, Prashant Kumar Behera, Rajesh Kumar Palai, Rudra Prasad Swain and Puja Jena. The lighting effects and the sound were designed by Jayadev Das for the evening’s program.

All through these presentations, the audiences were held spell bound by the artistry of the performers and one could hear their comments describing the show as “superb”, “brilliant” and “simply amazing”.

Before the program came to an end, Madhavi Adivi proposed a vote of thanks. The artists were honored with shawls by temple president Tilak Marwaha, Usha Pariti, Lakshmana Mittur, Satya Srinivasan and Ipsita Mahapatra of Utkalaa Dance Academy.