As she gets on the stage and starts performing, Odissi dance exponent Kavita Dwibedi bowls over the audiences with her precise-yet-graceful dance moves, expressive eyes and supple footwork. For Kavita, it is the divinity, level of infinity and the grace of this dance form that charmed her as a child, and continues to do so till date.
“Odissi has a lot of graceful moves and I feel proud as I get to promote the dance form of my state. But what really drives me to it is its divinity. Odissi dance is like a flame - it starts slowly and leaves you in a state of trance by the end. The impact of the dance is very peaceful,” she says.
Kavita found a guru in her father, Odissi maestro Guru Harekrishna Behera, and started learning young and performing at various events. But it was when she was studying in college - and got a junior fellowship and national scholarship from the Department of Culture, Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India - that was a turning point as far as her interest in this art for was concerned.
“It was then that I realised that I have got a heritage which I have to take forward,” she says. A well-travelled performer, Kavita has performed at prominent festivals in different parts of the country to familiarise the audience with the magic of her dance form.
“In foreign countries, people do have the basic knowledge about the art form.
But, there still is need to increase awareness about Indian culture. During my performances I tell people about this dance form. Nowadays, thanks to the internet, people try to know about the dance form before they come to attend a performance,” she adds.
In Amritsar on Wednesday, Kavita performed at two schools in the city at the invitation of SPICMACAY (Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth).
While highlighting the need for creating more awareness about Orissi, Kavita appreciated the work of organisations like SPICMACAY that create awareness among the younger generation and create future audiences for such dance forms.
“Bharatanatyam and Kathak are still popular, Orissi is not. But when people see our performance and learn about the dance form, they start liking it,” says Kavita, who is the founder-director of Odissi Akademi, Delhi.Her advice to youngsters interested in learning classical art forms - both music and dance – is to maintain patience and the passion to learn.
“Once you start learning, you start living with these arts and learn to go deeper into them. These forms require patience, as they slowly lead you to the right path. It is a sadhana, after which things eventually become clear,” she concludes.