Kelucharan Mohapatra

Kelucharan Mohapatra
Born (1926-01-08)8 January 1926
Raghurajpur, Puri, Odisha, India
Died 7 April 2004(2004-04-07) (aged 78)
Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
Occupation Indian classical dancer, choreographer
Years active 1935–2004
Spouse(s) Laxmipriya Mohapatra [1]
Children Ratikanta Mohpatra
Awards Padma Vibhushan

Kelucharan Mohapatra (8 January 1926 – 7 April 2004) was a legendary Indian classical dancer, guru, and exponent of Odissi dance, who is credited with the revival and popularizing of this classical dance form in the 20th century.[2] He is the first person to receive the Padma Vibhushan from Odisha.[3]

A noted Sanskrit poet of India writes on this Guru: Saango-paanga-subhangi-laasya-madhuram samteerna-nrutyaarnavam, which translates as - "Each fraction of his dancing body leads to paramount sweetness, through miraculous poses and postures. In fact, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra crossed the ocean of styles."[4]

Early life and History

In his youth, Kelucharan Mohapatra performed Gotipua - a traditional dance form of Odisha where young boys dress up as woman to praise Lord Jagannath. Later in his life he did extensive research on Gotipua and Mahari dance, which lead him to restructure Odissi dance. Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra was a master in Percussion instruments - Mridangam, Pakhavaj and Tabla, which clearly resonates in his dance compositions. He was also skilled in the traditional Pattachitra painting.

Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra along with his wife, Laxmipriya, herself a dancer, and their son Ratikant Mohapatra built Srjan in 1993.[5]



  • "Odissi is not a mere dance form to entertain people but to inspire and elevate. I don't actually dance but pray in compassion and the spectators say that this `form' is dancing."[7]
  • ""The real dance must convey the feeling of undivided existence, that a spectator can feel that he is not different from the thing observed".[7]

* " Dance has not only made my life purposeful, it has been my whole life... Whatever I am today is entirely due to the blessings of my guru."


  1. Remembering the maestro Leela Venkatraman, The Hindu, 15 April 2005.
  2. DANCE REVIEW; Sculptural And Sensual, It's Odissi by Anna Kisselgoff, New York Times, 19 October 2000.
  3. Sampad, Shilpi (26 January 2013). "Sun dreamer gets Padma". Calcutta, India. Retrieved 5 February 2013. after late Odissi dancer Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra
  4. Vanikavi Dr.Manmohan Acharya (1926-01-08). "SRJAN, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Nrityabasa". Archived from the original on 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
  5. "History Of Srjan". Srjan. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  6. 1 2 3 "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  7. 1 2 "Glimpses of eternity". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 7 April 2006.

Further reading

  • The Making of a Guru: Kelucharan Mohapatra, His Life and Times, by Ileana Citaristi. Published by Manohar, 2001. ISBN 81-7304-369-8.
  • The Dancing Phenomenon: mad boy, by Sharon Lowen, Kelucharan Mohapatra, Avinash Pasricha. Lustre Press, Roli Books, 2001. ISBN 81-7436-179-0.
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