March 5, 2015

Narendrapur Loka Nrutya Group from Badakusasthali, Ganjam, Odisha

I had attended the LokaNritya and LokaBadya Utsav [State-Level Folk Dancesand Music Festival] at Bhanja Kala Mandap, Bhubaneswar recently from 25-26February, 2015. The folk dances and folk music performances from Odisha done there, were just outstanding. That there is so much talent brimming in our grassroot-level villages and towns, and more importantly they are working hard to preserve the heritage passed on by ancestors, filled me with optimism and hope for preservation of our vibrant cultural arts.

Indian culture is rich, diverse, glorious, brilliant and each state has its own distinct cultural flavours. The summation of all such brilliance, makes our India - #IncredibleIndia!

On 25th February, 2015, among so many awesome dances, I got to witness Ranapa and Chadheiya dances from Ganjam district of Odisha. At that time, I never knew both these were done by the same group! Catch glimpses of the glorious dances here:

The next day I had gone a bit early, so I got a chance to go backstage and interact with the groups performing on that day- 26 February. Again after the show also, I could not resist going backstage to some groups, congratulating them for such wonderful performances!

I was glad to meet the Narendrapur Loka Nrutya Group from Badakusasthali, Ganjam, Odisha. I was even happier to know that the same group had done both the jaw-dropping, spectacular dances of the day before and were scheduled to perform more awesomeness with ‘SankhaDhwani’ performance on that day!

This group was represented by the ace dancer and Secretary of the dance organisation, Sri Rajendra Prasad Patra. Most of his group consisted of very young boys who went to school and college. I asked some of them, “Do you go to school?” Most of them said”Yes!” with great pride and happiness. When I asked how they managed both school and doing awesome shows like this and also practising or rehearsing for the shows, one of the slightly older boys called Rajendra Debata told me, that they did manage time well to do justice to both education and performing shows.

A spectacular pose struck during 'SankhaDhwani' Performance

I asked how much they had practised for this festival’s shows, and he said, just four to five days back they had started specific practice for the festival. I was amazed! “With such less practice, how did you do so difficult dances so well?” He smiled and said- “Ma’am, we have been doing this since years and years! I have been rehearsing this since I was four or five!” “You mean like this wonder boy?” I pointed at a small boy who earlier during the show, was the one being lifted and climbing like Spiderman to the top of every pyramid formation in the spectacular SankhaDhwani performance! He did it with so much calmness, ease and expertise, that I was speechless!

I called him, clicked his photo and asked his name. He shyly said- “Syama”. I thanked him for being such an awesome performer at such a young age. I excitedly tweeted all this! I was extra proud of this group from Ganjam- my home district as well!

I was also filled with awe, hope and happiness when I understood their tech-savviness- as many were on FB as well! Rajendra Debata surprised me when he took my phone and operated it with ease- selecting the pics he liked and sending them in a group via Bluetooth to his TAB! I was impressed and hopeful...#DigitalIndia at its best!

All in all, I was filled with hope and optimism for the future of our arts and our youth. There are many groups like this across Odisha, working to save our dances and music, and performing these in different festivals in our state, India and abroad.

Culture is what makes a nation rich and vibrant. May all the folk dances and music groups live forever! #LookUp to them to show our #IncredibleIndia to the WORLD! :)

**This is my post for #LookUp


  1. Awesome #LookUp Post, Amrita!
    So proud of our rich cultural heritage.
    Hope that our artists get to perform and earn their due- respect & money. Both are needed for such arts to thrive & survive.
    May the world recognize & look up to our incredible India.

    1. Thanks so much Anita! :) Yes r right- the more sch festivals are held, the better the artists get paid and more ppl get aware of our wonderful arts....& these continue....:)


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