Song of Surrender

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Sanjukta Panigrahi

Birthdays & Anniversaries
4.8.1944-1997
" Sanju took Odissi dance to its pinnacle of glory," observed her guru of a lifetime, Kelucharan Mohapatra, lamenting her death. "Her Moksha transcended the limits of aesthetics and became a spiritual experience. Now she has attained moksha." 

Moksha is perhaps the right word to describe her destination. For her dance was an offering to the Lord.'l am doing pooja with my dance," she told an interviewer five years ago.

That dance would become the medium for her moksha likely never crossed the minds of her orthodox brahmin parents when she was born, on 24 August 1944, in Berhampur, Orissa. But, whether they realised it or not, she was born to dance. Even as a little girl, she showed a natural aptitude for it and her mother, a trained singer, decided that she would encourage her to learn Odissi, which itself was struggling at that time to gain a distinct identity and acceptance as a classical dance-form. At the request of the mother, Kelucharan Mohapatra took Sanju, then five years young, under his wings and gave her intensive training. He recently recalled that even as Sanju "danced" for him when he first saw her at her parents' house, he realised she was something.


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