Classical dancer Ananda receives Deba Prasad Das award


Bhubaneswar, Oct 31: Renowned classical dancer Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant has been conferred with the prestigious Guru Deba Prasad Das award instituted in memory of the renowned Odissi maestro.

The citation was presented here by Odisha Industries and School Education minister Debi Prasad Misra on Friday evening on behalf of Tridhara dance institution that organised a three-day festival. Present on the occasion were Odisha Board of Revenue member Ashok K Tripathi and arts scholar Ashish Mohan Khokar.

Hyderabad-based Ananda, who is a Padma Shri-winning exponent of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi she learned from Chennai’s famed Kalakshetra in the 1970s, is also a choreographer, teacher, writer and top bureaucrat being a motivational speaker in recent times.

At the just-concluded festival, Ananda presented a tarangam in ragamalika and to the eight-beat Adi talam, essaying Lord Krishna childhood heroics and mischief. The intricacies of the eventual ‘jathi’ patterns of foot movements were performed on the edges of a brass plate. Subsequently, a Meera Bhajan (in Mishra Malkauns) portraying the devotion of the 16th-century Krishna devotee for the lord was brought out in total grace.

Ananda, who is a cancer survivor and a senior official with Indian Railway Traffic Service, performed Kuchipudi on the last day of the October 28-30 festival that also featured other award-winning stalwarts Kumkum Mohanty (Odissi), Saroja Vaidyanathan (Bharatanatyam) and Rajendra Gangani (Kathak). Tridhara, which was established three decades ago, is into popularising the Deba Prasad Das style of Odissi—the classical dance he reformed with contemporary masters from the 1960s till his death in 1986 at age 54. The institution is currently headed by senior exponent Guru Gajendra Kumar Panda.

As the Artistic Director of Shankarananda Kalakshetra in her native Hyderabad, Ananda leads an acclaimed ensemble, besides training and presenting the next generation of Bharatanatyam artists. Having won the Padma Shri in 2007 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar for Bharatanatyam two years later, she has also been honoured by the Tamil Nadu government’s coveted Kalaimamani and Andhra Pradesh government’s Kala Ratna awards.

A TED speaker in 2009, Ananda’s TED talk is now much viewed and ranked as one of 12 Incredible TED talks on cancer. In January this year, the Huffington Post ranked her TED talk as the first of five greatest by any Indian.

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