Ananya : The Unparalleled - October 6 to October 10, 2012 - Purana Quila, New Delhi - Daily at 7 to 8.15 pm - Entry Free
Tuesday, 9th October 2012
Odissi - Bichitrananda Swain's group : Rudraksh (Bhubaneswar)
The temple looks out at the turbulent sea – its magnificent ruins redolent with memory. Sinuous forms, supple limbs and rapt expressions frozen in stone tell of an ancient dance performed in Orissa as far back as the 2nd century BC in sacred ritual to the gods. Later, the devadasis – or Maharis – were given in service to Lord Jagannath. Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda of the 12th century enriched this tradition greatly, and spread rapidly throughout the country. The intolerance of invader rulers, however, marked the end of the tradition of the Maharis – a word possibly derived from maha (great) nari (woman), or the Chosen One. Vaishnava followers, meanwhile, patronised boy dancers – Gotipuas – who, dressed as females, began performing in public places. Restructured and resurgent, Odissi, today, derives from these as well as the sculpture and manuscript traditions. Its movements continue to reflect the motifs of the temple architecture of Orissa. It captures rhythms, melodies and poetry taken from the vast canon of Oriya as well as Sanskrit literature.

Director of the leading dance institution, Rudrakash, Guru Bichitrananda Swain has emerged as one of the foremost gurus of Odissi. An exceptional performer and instructor, he has a Masters with top honours from Utkala University in Bhubaneswar. Bichitrananda Swain has trained under the stalwarts of Odissi – Gurus Kelucharan Mohapatra, Ramaniranjan Jena, Gangadhar Pradhan and Sanjukta Panigrahi. He has worked with several international organisations, been visiting faculty at Nrityagram and has also headed the Odissa Dance Academy. One of the leading choreographers in the new generation of Odissi, he founded and nurtured the Rudraksh Foundation to promote a wider acceptance of the male aesthetic in what is a predominantly female dance form. Today, Rudraksh is one of the important dance institutions catering to international sensibilities but also rooted firmly in the traditions established by the founding fathers of Odissi.


An ‘Evening of Enchanting Ecstasy’ begins with Mangalacharan as dancers make an offering of the fragrant jasmine, marigold and tulasi to the lord of the universe, Jagannatha, to invoke his presence and blessings. The heady, lingering perfume of the flowers finds expression in Pallavi, a pure dance composition with intricate footwork and elaborate movement. This is followed by Samuditha Madhane – an abhinaya piece from Gita Govinda. And finally, Tala Madhurya, a unique and widely acclaimed composition choreographed by Guru Bichitrananda Swain that underscores the male aspect of Odissi.