Having been witness in Kuala Lumpur’s Istana Budaya auditorium to the spectacle of over twenty Odissi dancers of Sutra render the production Ganjam capturing the flavours of this district of South Odisha, the idea of Ramli Ibrahim heading a crew of eight dancers for an Indian premier sponsored jointly by Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra and Indian Council for Cultural Relations in association with Sutra Foundation and the Malaysian High Commission, did not make for exciting news. But one has to compliment Ramli’s creative imagination that even with a small troupe one third the size of the original cast, he made the Kamani Auditorium resound with applause in admiration. The manner in which the entire group configurations had to be re-worked to retain optimum effect with such a scaled -down group, called for an understanding of performance space which is Ramli’s hallmark. As usual, team work was excellent and even without the Istana Budaya stage effects and manipulation of stage levels at the Kamani, what was presented was still riveting. Led by dancer composer Gajendra Panda’s expertise with manjira and recitation of ukkutas, the vibrant live music of full- throated singing by Sangita Panda along with Satyabrata, with evocative mardal accompaniment by Rama Chandra Behera and instrumentalists provided an inspiring melodic format as a take-off point for the dance.
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