Indian Classical Dance - Orissi

Orissi dance (or Odissi as it is now more popularly called) hails from Orissa, a land strewn with magnificent temples, on the eastern coast of India and appears to have culled the best from its iconographic surroundings. The style is often described as 'Sculpture in Movement'. Of the several classical styles of India , it is the most lyrical and the most finely chiselled. The languorous dance is complemented by the charming sweetness of Orissi music. The rich Sanskrit and Oriya literature has traditionally provided the inspiration for the profoundly emotional interpretative dance.
Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra (1926-2004), the prime mover in the renaissance of Orissi dance, was a brilliant choreographer, generous teacher, expert percussionist, and a master performer. A legend in his life-time, he was decorated with many national and international awards, including the 'Padma Vibhushan', the highest award of Indian government. He will be remembered in the annals of dance history as the architect of present day Orissi dance .
Kumkum Lal has had the proud privilege of being one of the closest disciples of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra for nearly four decades. Kumkum combines in her dance a perfect physical interpretation and a deep intellectual and spiritual appreciation of the classical form. The tenderness, languor and deep emotional content of the Orissi style blend beautifully with her graceful body and expressive face. Kumkum has performed at many festivals of dance including the well-known Khajuraho festival. Her performances have won critical and popular acclaim from national and international audiences. During her stay in Japan, she taught and performed extensively and was instrumental in spreading the dance there.

Kumkum also studied and performed creative dance under Narendra Sharma, and Chhau under Guru Krishna Chandra Naik. Her initial training in Orissi was under Guru Hare Krishna Behera.

She taught English literature at the Delhi University , reviewed dance and acted in plays. She was awarded Indian Government's senior fellowship to work on a Sanskrit treatise on Orissi. She worked with the Sangeet Natak Akademi as the head of their dance section.

Besides teaching and performing Orissi, Kumkum gives lecture-demonstrations in schools and colleges. She also continues the study of Sanskrit.

Kumkum's photo gallery (1970's onwards)

Japan Years. Photos & Videos

New! Videos and Pictures 2007

Contact: Kumkum Lal
164, Munirka Enclave,
New Delhi 110067 India
Phone: +91 11 26106891