National Festival of Mayurbhanj Chhau 'Naatki' concluded with spectacle of performances
Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], December 18: After two days of breathtaking dance performances, the National Festival of Mayurbhanj Chhau 'Naatki' has concluded.
The festival included artists from Mayurbhanj Chhau performing unit of Project Chhauni who performed in various creative productions choreographed by Vidushi Sharma Bhate from Pune and Padmasree Dr Ileana Citarist from Bhubaneswar alongside Nichuapada Uttarsahi Chhau Nritya Pratisthan of Moroda Block. The choreography combined elements from contemporary and traditional aspects of the Mayurbhanj Chhau dance. On the festival's last day, three performances took place 'Panchabhoota', 'Yodhha', and 'The Mystical Forest'.
Talking to "TC" about the motivation behind 'The Mystical Forest', dancer Mahi Sharma from Delhi said, "Our choreography which was conducted by our guru Santosh Nair, was motivated by nature. Taking care of our environment is quintessential in keeping our livelihood safe. If we don't take care of our environment, gradually our forests would start depleting and the natural resources important for humans would become lost. Our dance aimed to spread the message of forest conservation among people". The festival was conducted by Chhauni as a means of helping the 'Chhau' dance of Odisha get some exposure and recognition among the masses. Chhauni was an initiative led by the Mayurbhanj District Administration. It began operations in 2016 "to preserve and promote the art form and provide a livelihood to the artistes." Chhauni had conducted a survey in Mayurbhanj which covered 202 social organisations and 11,738 people who were associated with the dance form. After auditioning more than 400 Artists the performing unit was created in 2017.
In a conversation with "TC" , Praveen Chandra Bhanjdeo, the Maharaja of Mayurbhanj threw some light about the origin of the initiative. "In 2016, Mayurbhanj's ex-collector Shri Rajesh Patil guided the project Chhauni after years of the dance form's old Gurus being neglected....he picked up all the young artists along with Shubhoshree Mukherjee who herself was a dancer and had done Chhau," he said. "'Naatki' is the first National event for the Chhau dance, which showcases the dance form in a modern way," he added.