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Dancing in oblivion!

The few remaining artists of the age-old Oriya dance form, Gotipua, now struggle to keep it alive.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2005 17:15 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

It is one of the authentic forms of present day Classical Odissi dance which finds its roots in this centuries old traditional form - the 'Gotipua' dance. Odissi legend late Kelucharan Mohapatra started his dance career with it at the age of nine.

But unfortunately, while the Odissi dancers have enthralled the audience all over the world by their elegant style, the few remaining Gotipua artists are struggling to keep this age-old form alive.

"There is no help, financial or otherwise, from the State government in promoting the dance", laments Maheswar Mohapatra who has been making efforts to keep this tradition alive. "It is a lineage I have inherited from my forefathers and I can not let it die", he says.

Mohapatra is heading a dance troupe of nine boys which performed in the Capital. These artists were from the remote Raghurajpur village near temple town Puri, the birthplace of the Odissi legend Guru Kelucharan. The only village that keeps the tradition alive till today.

Spread as a part of the temple culture of Orissa, Gotipua in its original form was the dance by a single boy. ('Goti' meaning one and 'Pua' meaning boy). But with the passage of time, the dance has become more precise, incorporating a style suitable for the modern stage worthiness.

Today, it is performed as a group dance with six to eight boys of tender age (up to 14 years old), who, dressed up in female attire, perform the dance.

First Published: Nov 30, 2005 19:15 IST