Laxmipriya Mohapatra: Trailblazer and inspiration
Laxmipriya Mohapatra was once the primary dancer to accomplish the then-unnamed Odissi on level
Round nighttime on March 20, Laxmipriya Mohapatra, higher referred to as the spouse of Odissi legend Kelucharan Mohapatra, kicked the bucket in Bhubaneswar. She was once 93 and had stopped dancing a number of many years in the past. But, the inside track of her loss of life was once mourned via fanatics of Odissi around the globe. She was once cremated with complete State honours. Laxmipriya’s id was once no longer simply because the spouse of Kelucharan; she made historical past when she become the primary dancer to accomplish Odissi on level, and Kelucharan would regularly recognize her inspiring presence in his existence and artwork.
A lot earlier than her celebrated husband launched into his dance adventure, Laxmipriya had established herself as a celebrity dancer on the well-known Annapurna Theatre in Puri. Pushed via poverty, her actress-mother Tulasi Devi had despatched her to the theatre when Laxmipriya was once simply seven. At 17, she moved from Puri to Cuttack, the cultural capital of Odisha. Right here, she were given a chance to proportion the level along with her long run husband when the 2 acted in a play by which Laxmipriya carried out the position of Mohini whilst Kelucharan was once Mahadev.
Ancient solo efficiency
It was once adopted via her historical solo Odissi presentation, the primary of its type, in 1946, accompanied via Kelucharan at the mardal. Her shocking efficiency of this new dance shape — but to be named ‘Odissi’ — captivated audiences such a lot that there could be queues to shop for tickets to observe the dancer.
The overdue and eminent actor-dancer Minati Mishra talked on many events about how as a kid she had watched Laxmipriya dance and been motivated to be told Odissi. Two different exponents — Priyambada Mohanty Hejmadi and Kumkum Mohanty, each from Cuttack, had been similarly impressed via Laxmipriya, who was once instrumental in encouraging women from skilled and established households to coach in Odissi.
Additionally gifted in folks and tribal dances, Laxmipriya carried out those at Republic Day parades in New Delhi within the early 1950s. Together with her sturdy basis in theatre, she acted in a variety of vintage Odia movies. She guided and supported Kelucharan all through his youth as a choreographer. “Guruji would keenly apply her strikes and expressions and come with them in his choreography,” recollects Kumkum Mohanty. “He would insist on his spouse’s presence when he labored on a brand new piece. He valued her inputs immensely,” says Pranati Mohanty, a senior disciple of the couple.
“Kelucharan admired her good looks and ability since he first noticed her dancing. He were via her facet, as a dance spouse in addition to a relied on pal. Laxmipriya was once and remains to be his inspiration even after 50 years,” wrote Ileana Citaristi, Kelucharan’s outstanding disciple and biographer, 20 years in the past in her ebook, The Making of a Guru.
Despite the fact that a extremely achieved artiste, Laxmipriya made up our minds to step again from performances to care for the circle of relatives and make stronger her husband. She was once instrumental in construction Srjan, the famed establishment that Guru Kelucharan established in Bhubaneswar, which has groomed dancers around the globe.
The Bhubaneshwar-based writer writes on classical dance.