Padmavibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra
Among the many gems Orissa has produced in different fields of art through the centuries, one of the latest is certainly the Odissi Dance Guru Padmavibhushan Sri Kelucharan Mohapatra, born on 8th January 1926 at Raghurajpur, Puri. He has been the Guru of practically every contemporary Odissi dancer of note in the past and today. He started learning the Gotipua Nritya and Pakhawaj under the great Gurus, Mohan Sundar Deva Goswami and Pankaj Charan Das at an early age. He performed with a Rasleela troupe before joining the Theatre.
After Independence, Guruji started working independently to popularize Gotipua Nritya and the Mahari Dance. He received the Sangeet Natak Academy Award and was honoured with Padmashree, Padmabhushan, and Padmavibhushan, besides numerous other awards, accolades and recognition from all over the world.
Guruji was one of the main architects of the contemporary Odissi repertoire. The creative ability evident in his choreography has evolved through a systematic study of ancient manuscripts and Oriyan Sculptures (especially at the ancient temples in Orissa). Guruji’s style lays equal emphasis on precision and perfection in both tal and laya.
His sudden demise on 7th April 2004 will remain the biggest loss to the Odissi fraternity. Guruji’s attitude towards dance was, in essence, devotional; to him dance was not so much a vocation as it was an expression of life.
Guru Dipanwita Roy
Dipanwita Roy is a leading Odissi exponent, and a disciple of the great Odissi Gurus Padmavibhushan Late Shri Kelucharan Mohapatra and Padmashree Late Shrimati Sanjukta Panigrahi. She has performed at major cultural centers in India and has extensively toured U.S.A., U.K., France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Italy, where she undertook performances, workshops, and demonstrations.
Dipanwita is an “A” grade National Artist of television in India. In 1996, under a scholarship from the British Council Division at Calcutta, she attended the International Summer School at the prestigious Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, London, where she studied Pilates, choreography and functional anatomy. In 1997, Dipanwita worked for a documentary film “Yet To Sprout” on destitute children of India, and in 2004 “Gateway To Heaven” on the Jagannath Temple, Puri (Orissa).
She holds a distinction for senior diploma in Odissi from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad, and has been awarded the title “Singarmani” by Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai (1986). She also received the "Bharat Nirman Award" from the Bharat Nirman Award Committee (2009).
Dipanwita’s sensitive rendering of dramatic expressions combined with impeccable coordination of body movements, blend to make her a dancer of considerable talent. Apart from being a dancer, Dipanwita is also a painter, which had assisted in her interpretation of the sculptural poses of the Odissi dance.