Monday 9 December 2019

Prism - Contribution of male stage artistes to the evolution of Odissi dance - Ileana Citaristi

(Paper presented at the "Purush-ang" seminar organized by Central Sangeet Natak Akademi at Bhubaneswar on September 19, 2000)

An important role in the formation of what we define today as Odissi dance was played in the first half of the 20th century by male artistes belonging to the performing art scene of those days. At the time when the devadasi tradition had come to an end and the gotipua tradition was looked upon as cheap and vulgar, a group of talented and versatile stage artistes infused new life into the dying dance scene.

The emergence of the present day Odissi cannot be totally understood unless we place it in the context of the fertile atmosphere which the theatre movement of the first half of the last century and the artistes behind it provided. Among the artistes were Mohan Sunder Dev Goswami, Ramachandra Mania, Laxminarayan Patra, Lingaraj Nanda, Kartik Kumar Ghose, Brindavan Das, Kashinath Sahu, Durlav Chandra Singh, Kalicharan Patnaik, and Dayal Sharan. They were totally dedicated and committed to the cause of reviving the performing arts of Orissa. Each one of them was an exponent of more than one discipline, like music, drama direction, dance or stage craft and each one was a self made artiste, having acquired whatever expertise he had, more by observation than by undergoing a systematic training.

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