Odissi with a Jungle Book twist
To commemorate their 10th year, the Odissi Dancer Centre in the city will showcase Odissi in its purest form, in addition to an adaptation of the Jungle Book, with a twist. The centre will be partnering with the Faith Foundation, whose main aim is to keep children safe. This show will see Odissi students who have just started learning to the more experienced ones. Devjani Sen, the choreographer for the production elaborates, “I wanted to do something that showcased all the students from the school. With this thought in mind, I came across Jungle Book and the rest fell into place.” Devjani was choreographing a scene from Jungle Book for a student of hers, before this production. On why Jungle Book was chosen, she adds, “While conversing with a friend who works in child safety about this show, Jungle Book felt apt to bring out the message of child safety as it’s about keeping a child safe in the jungle, and bringing him back to the village.” The entire message that they want to showcase is that children need protection, and that it is up to adults to give the child a safe environment. On what the audience can expect from the show, Devjani adds, “One can expect pure Odissi, some of my own choreography. Jungle Book will be semi-classical with the frame work being Odissi, and because it is a dance drama it was impossible to make it entirely classical.” On stage, will be students of the Odissi Dance Centre as well as the Rudraksh Foundation from Bhuvaneshwar. The eight male dancers will be performing the Thandav or the masculine side of Odissi.
Yashna Sureka, a senior dancers from the centre will be performing both pure classical Odissi as well as the Jungle Book. She adds, “I will be performing the two compositions by my teacher in the Odissi part of the show. The two compositions are Pallavi and Ganga (which talk about the goddess and the river). I play one of the vultures in the Jungle Book part.” Teamwork comes full circle as 35 other people come together for this show. Ashmita Deb will be joining Yashna in two compositions, and she elaborates, “I will also be playing the Monkey King Louie. The one thing that I will be taking home from this entire experience is Mowgli’s confidence to do anything, and also his self-belief.” Devjani plans to do the same show with junior and senior level dancers, and also a show on feminism sometime next year.
— The premier show is set to be staged on August 26 at ADA Rangamandira.