Konark Fest: Poor Odissi Show Leaves Dance Lovers Disappointed

Konark: The five-day long prestigious Konark Festival came to an end on a disappointing note with Odissi performance by Bhubaneswar-based Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Research Centre here on Tuesday.

The audience saw the mismatch in steps along with discordant vocals. Though the festival promises to be an exciting affair for connoisseurs of classical dance and the artistes of repute showcase their performances, the Odissi dance drama ‘Ripu Parinama’ left a lot to be desired.

Written by Nityananda Misra and choreographed by Kasturi Patnaik, the dance-drama was conceptualised by Padma awardee danseuse Aruna Mohanty and vocalist Sangeeta Gosain. The choreography depicted human emotions like kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (avarice), moha (attachment), mada (pride) and mascharya (jealousy), which in excess causes destruction.

However, the dancers’ performance made it seem like they lacked a thorough understanding of the subject, which was based on mythology.  While capital city Bhubaneswar is witnessing a number of Odissi performances around the year, the mediocre dance performance accompanied by unimpressive vocals against the backdrop of the grandiose Sun Temple’s intricate carvings did not do justice to the prestigious event.

“At some places, the script was also trimmed abruptly without my knowledge. In the Sumbh-Nisumbh part, the choreography depicted that they both died keeping their hands on each other’s heads, but the dialogue missing,” pointed out Misra, disappointingly adding: “The performance could have been better with more practise and preparation.”

The dancers were accompanied by 10 musicians of whom three were vocalists. But their performance was below par. When asked about it, Aruna Mohanty said, “I was not involved in the choreography or music. My name was associated with the dance-drama as I gave the concept.” She agreed, “The performance could have been impactful with more attention and dedication.”

In comparison, all the five accompanists, including the vocalists, in the Mohiniattam show by Dr Kanak Rele and group perfectly blended with the dancers. This made one feel that though there is no dearth of Odissi dancers in Odisha, more focus should be paid to good choreography and vocal narration. The choice of dance group for such a big event like the Konark Festival also needs better scrutiny.




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