Odissi dance, which has its roots in ancient temple sculptures in eastern India, is characterized by the juxtaposition of fluid torso movements and strong footwork that also give the dance its unique lyrical grace. Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, for whom the festival pays tribute is one of the key reconstructors of Odissi who developed his own style from researching texts, temple sculptures, and preceding dance forms — Mahari and Gotipua, combined with his own creative ingenuity, and is a legendary figure in Indian classical dance.
Guru Shradha is a dance institution/company with a mission to preserve and promote Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra’s style of Odissi in North America and abroad. After decades of training under Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Niharika Mohanty, took on the crucial role of continuing Guruji’s work in North America by founding Guru Shradha with the meaningful involvement of both Guru Ratikant Mohapatra (Chief Advisor) and Guru Sujata Mohapatra (Artistic Director). Since its inception in 2008, Guru Shradha has developed into a premier Odissi institution, known for its strict adherence to Guruji’s teachings.
This year’s festival includes performances by Guru Sujata Mohapatra, the daughter-in-law of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra who was described by New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay as “one of the great dancers of our time.” The festival also features Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra’s spirited dance ballet, Balya Leela, bringing forth episodes of vibrant Hindu Lord Krishna’s childhood. Balya Leela has only been presented previously by Guru Mohapatra’s own institution Srjan and now by Guru Shradha in its U.S. premiere during the festival. Other pieces in the program will feature traditional choreography of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra in spellbinding solo pieces performed by the senior artists, interspersed captivating group presentations performed by Guru Shradha.
June 18, 4:30 p.m.
Schultz Cultural Arts Ha,,l 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto.