Monday 7 July 2014

Interview - Aruna Mohanty: The thinking dancer - Sutapa Patnaik

Odissi dancer-choreographer-guru Aruna Mohanty is known globally for her innovative productions that harmoniously blend indigenous explorations with contemporary cultural sensibilities. While 15 out of her 59 compositions are based on the 12th century saint poet Jayadeva’s Geeta Govinda, she has also explored with equal ease unusual themes like the Odisha super cyclone, Krishna for the contemporary world, apart from some modern Odia poetry. Her latest venture is based on German Nobel laureate Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha. Her research on representation of the male dancer in classical sculpture and evolution of Odissi in the post-Independence era are widely appreciated.

Here are some excerpts from an interview conducted at her Bhubaneswar home recently dealing with her thoughts on the art of choreography.

Are you aware that you are widely recognized as a thinking dancer?
It is nice to know that people consider me to be a thinking dancer. But I don’t think I am God’s Sunday creation. Everyone learns by observing people and from the environment one is in. I am very fortunate that in my journey of dance, which began in the 1960s, I met people who were very generous. My parents, my gurus and well-wishers have all helped me see the road ahead of me. Like a child, I continue to learn from authority figures, peers and people I’m surrounded with. I’m always hungry to know more and to appreciate people for their good work. This helps me to learn a few things which I try and incorporate into my work. I haven’t stopped learning because I think I have so much more to learn, and I’m doing so little. In that, I’m like a student; and I do think. But then, every dancer does. The sad part is, very few dancers communicate their ideas through their work, while most refrain from expressing in action what they think because either they are too happy following a set of guidelines to project their art, or they believe people will not understand their viewpoint and hence withhold their creative potency. 

Read the interview in the site

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