Journeying Through Odissi

Avirup Sengupta with Bashabi Fraser

Avirup Sengupta with Bashabi Fraser

Renowned Odissi dancer Avirup Sengupta transported his audience to a realm of artistry and cultural brilliance at an Ek Mulakat event in Edinburgh

On a chilly spring evening in Edinburgh, Scotland, the accomplished and internationally acclaimed Odissi performer and choreographer, Avirup Sengupta, graced a packed audience at the Indian Consulate General with his warmth, talent and undeniable charm. His performance left the spectators not only transfixed but also transported to a realm of artistry and cultural brilliance.

The event commenced with an introduction by the Consul General, Bijay Selvaraj, who extended his gratitude to Prabha Khaitan Foundation, the Ek Mulakat initiativeand the Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies (ScoTs) for their support and collaboration in bringing Sengupta’s performance to Scotland’s capital, also known as the “Athens of the North”. Professor Bashabi Fraser, CBE, the director of ScoTs, took the stage next and introduced Sengupta to the audience, highlighting his extensive training in Odissi, neo-classical dance and various other dance forms. She further acknowledged Sengupta’s numerous prestigious awards and his notable performances both nationally and internationally. The director also highlighted his work as a social reformer, particularly his efforts in fostering empathetic communities through performing arts, focusing on his work with children with special needs.

Dressed in a resplendent green silk dhoti, Sengupta exuded a charismatic aura as he embarked on a lecture demonstration titled The Journey of Odissi Dance. As he explained and illustrated his points through PowerPoint slides, Sengupta guided the audience through the evolution of this ancient dance form, tracing its origins from the sacred temples of Odisha to its transformation into a vibrant and dynamic art form now showcased on modern stages. Through demonstrations, the dancer demystified the language of dance, making it accessible to a diverse audience. His expressive use of mudras, tala, raga and fluid movements provided an understanding and appreciation of the narratives conveyed through Odissi.

Sengupta traced the ancient origins of Odishi in the sacred temples of Odisha to its transformation into a vibrant art form showcased on modern stages.

Following the lecture demonstration, Sengupta delighted the audience with a mesmerising dance sequence, characterised by eloquence and grace. Joining him on stage was his talented disciple, Raina Roy, a Master’s student at Manchester University. Raina’s graceful rendition of a pallavi enthralled the audience.

As a final gift to the city of Edinburgh, Sengupta choreographed a dance piece to the melodious tune of Purano Sei Diner Kotha by Rabindranath Tagore, cleverly adapting it from Auld Lang Syne, the iconic song by Scotland’s renowned bard, Robert Burns. This artistic expression of the Indo-Scottish connection struck an emotional chord with the audience, evoking a sense of shared heritage and cultural understanding. The performance culminated in resounding applause, a testament to the impact Sengupta’s talent and creativity had on the hearts of those present.

After the performance, Sengupta engaged with the audience, answering their questions and responding to their comments. The interaction demonstrated his approachability and affability and cemented the audience’s genuine interest. Consul Satya Veer Singh conveyed a vote of thanks to conclude the evening, expressing appreciation for Sengupta’s talk. The session wrapped up with a lavish dinner hosted by the Indian Consulate General, where the artists mingled with the audience.