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Culture is dynamic
- Priyambada Mohanty-Hejmadi

(In response to Putting the record straight by Bibhuti Mishra)

December 6, 2005

I have gone through the Ramli Ibrahim Odissi costume controversy materials-articles in the October and November newsletters. I am grateful to see that Mr. Bibhuti Mishra has referred to my Odissi performance at the First National Youth Festival in 1954 which is taken as the discovery of Odissi as a new classical dance in the National scale. I refer to myself as the grand old lady of Odissi!

I have seen the original maharis and gotipuas in the early 1940's and believe me, the Odissi dress has undergone some changes keeping the Orissan tradition in mind. It may not be proper to comment on Ramli group costume without seeing the performance but baring any part of the body has not been our tradition. During a lecture demonstration on the Origin, Evolution and Emergence of Odissi dance in the Nehru Centre in London in 1999, I was asked questions about the relevance of the present costume sans revelations when our temple architecture has alasakanyas with a lot of revelations.

My answer was culture is dynamic and therefore the dance and costumes have been influenced by the aesthetics of the period. We have modified the costume to some extent with the present day culture and aesthetics in mind, preserving the decorum in attire thus upholding the dignity of the classical style. This should put our responsibilities as artistes in proper prospective if we choose classical dance as our profession.

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