US-based Odissi dancers enjoy the company of caves and carvings in Udayagiri-Khandagiri


Bhubaneswar: A ten-member team of Odissi dancers from California, US, which is in city in discovering the various stories behind the beautiful dance form was overwhelmed with joy today, discovering the earliest depiction of fully developed dance form in stone_ in full costume, musicians and other accompanying artists at Udayagiri caves, while taking part in the 5th Monks, Caves and Kings, the weekly heritage walk in the Twin Hills.

The dancers, nine from US and one from UK are led by Revital Carroll, a dancer with 20 years of learning experience in Odissi starting from eminent Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and later from Guru Bichitrananda Swain and now from Guru Sujata Mohapatra. Carroll is currently having her own dancing school for Odissi `Shakti Bhakti’ in USA and inspiring people to learn the classical dance form.

“The dancers from various walks of life, as members of the team will stay about three weeks in Odisha to learn different things about Odissi, i.e. how the beautiful sarees are made in Western Odisha with the unique tie and dye technique. They will also visit craftsmen, who manufacture the crown or `tahia’ used by dancers during the Odissi performances,’’ said Carroll.

Rumy Narayanan, who is learning Odissi from Carroll at Shakti Bhakti in California and came to Odisha for the first time, said “I am enjoying the place so much as Odisha and especially the Temple City Bhubaneswar is a beautiful place where the ancient temple art is showcased amidst the modern development.’’

Rumy, daughter of an Indian-American engineer father Hari Narayanan and Penny Narayanan, a native of US mother, is happy that she has got the opportunity to visit the land from where the classical dance form originated. “I am delighted that during the heritage walk in Udayagiri-Khandagiri Hills we are also experiencing the historical genesis of the dance,’’ she added.

Guide Satya Swarup Mishra said “we do not know, which one came first, the monks or the caves or the kings, but interestingly at Udayagiri there are also ancient caves with art by pre-historic men proving a point that the caves might be existing there much before the beginning of Jainism or Emperor Kharavela. However, while there were more than 100 caves during the ancient ties, currently less than 40 are existing as many could have been demolished during procurement of huge stones, for the temple building work in Old Town or Ekamra Kshetra.’’

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