One of the most influential Odissi dancer of all time was Guru Padmabhusan Kelucharan Mohapatra, who participated in the remergence of the dance to its current glory. Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra came from a family of artists and craftspeople, however he wanted to become an odissi dancer and set off to train and master the beautiful from. On a mission to expand the odissi repertoire with new stylistic choreographies he began to gather ancient scriptures and texts to come up with orginal choreographies. He is well known for his Pallavi compositions and his dance-dramas that changed everyone views of odissi and helped it rise from the ruins. Due to his hard work and over 200 compositions, Odissi officially was recognized as a classical dance of India in the late 1900s. Guru Kelucharan Mohpatra died in 2004, at the age of 82 however his memory continues to be cherished as he once said "Hundreds of my students are dancing today and I feel as if I am dancing in all their beings. Only when nobody can take my dance or my art further will I experience sadness."
Guru Deba Prasad Das also aided in the reinstitution of the dance into Indian culture.His genuine interest in singing and dancing lead to his involvement with dance drama companies where he got the opportunity to work alongside the infamous Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and Guru Pankaj Charan Das and began to compose some of his own drance dramas and solos that earned him recognition. He was known primarily for his group choreographies and one of his solos performed by his student is claimed to have been a contributing factor to Odissi's reemergence. Although he died young, his students continue to keep his style of dance alive and among current students. Before his death, he received the World Development Corporation award in 1983 and the Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi* Award in 1974 and the Indian Sangeet Natak Akademi* honored him with their annual award in 1977. The image to the left is one of his disciples, Sanchita Bhattacharya, expressing her emotions through abhinaya, or expressions.
Guru Pankaj Charan Das alongside Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and Guru Deba Prasad Das, contributed in the huge leap Odissi made after India's independence. He is known as the "father of Odissi" and is especially known for his group choreographies and taught almost all the reknown Gurus that further continued the Odissi experience along with him. His dance received international appeal through his student Rithi Devi who often visitedfrom New York and taught students in the USA the dance from, popularizinf it even more. Under Pankaj Charan Das many prospered and continued to spread his style aruound the world. However, depite his popularity, Guru Pankaj Charan Das, performed out of devotion and often had lots of laasya, graceful movements rather than tandav, or intensified foot work. Go to Top of the Page