Bhubaneswar, Jan 6 (LocalWire): Dr Minati Mishra (Born 1937 Cuttack, Odisha – died 6 January 2020, Zurich, Switzerland) was a legendary Odissi dancer who will be remembered for shaping Odissi as a classical dance. She dedicated her life to make the dance form find its place among the classical dances of India. She was well known as the second generation Odissi guru.
Let us go down memory lane and bring you a glimpse of the eminent Odissi danseuse who was renowned for her expression and dramatisation skills.
1. Born to Basanta Kumar Dash in Cuttack, Minati Mishra began performing at the age of seven.
2. She was introduced to Odissi by Guru Kabichandra Kalicharan Patnayak noted for in-depth research on Odia dance styles. She was also inspired by the dancing style of Laxmipriya Devi (wife of Guru Kelucharana Mahapatra) and decided to take up dancing.
3. She was blessed to have learnt dancing from the three first-generation gurus of Odissi dance – Guru Pankaj Charan Das, Guru Deba Prasad Das and Guru Keluchanran Mohapatra – which she later adapted as techniques in her dance.
4. After completing her studies, she got a scholarship in 1954 from the Government of Odisha to learn Bharatnatyam from Rukmini Devi Arundale at Kalakshetra in Madras. In 1956 she received the Natya Kalabhushanam.
5. Mishra was also awarded a doctoral degree in Indology from Philipp University, Marburg, Germany for her research work on Natyashastra.
6. She was the Principal of Utkal Sangeeta Mahavidyala from 1964-1989. During her long tenure in the university, she included Odissi dance and music in the syllabus for degree education.
7. The danseuse had also acted in several films like Surya Mukhi, Jeevan Sathi, Sadhana, Arundhati, Bhai Bhauja. She also played the lead in the film Arundhati – the first Odissi dance-based movie.
8. The revered Odissi guru performed at Zurich, Lucerne, Geneva and Winterthur and also at the Berlin Film Festival, in the presence of eminent actors Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn and Cary Grant. She got married to Nityananda Mishra, an engineer by profession and is survived by her only son Sabitava Mishra.
9. Honored with Padmashree in 2012, Mishra was presented with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Sangeet Prabhakar title for Hindustani vocal music.
10. She taught the theoretical aspects of Odissi dance in her school ‘Kalinga Kala Tirtha’ in Switzerland.