As the rhythms of ‘mandala’ (drum specially used in Odissi dance) reverberated through the Kalinga Stadium here on Friday, the dancers, attired in bright Sambalpuri handloom saris and traditional ornaments, moved like waves in an ocean of myriad colours.
The biggest congregation of Odissi dancers – 555 to be precise – from across India and abroad matched steps to perform the complete five-phase repertoire of classical Odissi for 30 minutes, a feat which they hope would ensure a place in Guinness Book of World Records. The dancers started with ‘Mangalacharan’ and followed it up with ‘Batu’, ‘Pallavi’, ‘Abhinay’ and finally ‘Mokshya’.
Prerna Vijayeni Panda, a dancer from New Delhi, said: “We rehearsed for three days at the venue here before the final performance. Performing at the event is the most exciting day in my life.”
Maria Laura Valdez from Peru, one of the 20-odd dancers from abroad who performed in the event, said: “The experience was exhilarating. I will cherish this moment all my life.”
Guru Ratikanta Mohapatra, who choreographed the sequence, said they organised the event as per the terms and conditions set by the Guinness Book of World Records authorities. “I am sure the performance will create a unique record,” he said.
Terming it as the most ambitious cultural event taken up by the Odisha government, Odisha tourism and culture secretary Ashok Tripathy said it would showcase Odisha’s culture and give a big boost to tourism at international level. “We have put in our best efforts. I hope Guinness authorities will recognise the feat after going through their procedures,” Tripathy said.
The Guinness Book authorities will get back in a few days.
The spectacular dance event in fact kicked off the International Odissi Dance Festival, which will be held over the next seven days till December 30. The festival, jointly organised by Bhubaneswar based Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Research Centre, US based Indian Performing Art Promotion and Odisha government’s Tourism and Culture department, has attracted more than 1000 dancers, including 200 from abroad, who will perform solo, duet and group Odissi presentations at different venues in Bhubaneswar.
Last year, in a similar event in Hyderabad, about 2800 Kuchipudi dancers had danced their way to the Guinness Book of Records with a 20-minute performance.