Naveen Kalakar Odissi Utsav 2008  
- Shyamhari Chakra 
May 10, 2008 

Orissa, the land of Odissi, has now an annual festival for the young Odissi dancers across the globe. Aptly named as Naveen Kalakar Odissi Utsav, this two-year-old festival aims at providing a platform for the budding dancers and promoting them as soloists. Hosted in the capital city of Bhubaneswar jointly by Orissa Samskriti Academy and Devdasi Nrutya Mandir and supported by the Government of Orissa and Muscat-based NRI and Odissi dance promoter Mr. A K Parija, it confers 'Odissi Jyoti' titles on those who secure at least 70 per cent marks for their performances from the jury that comprises dance gurus, senior dancers and dance critics. 

Mr. Parija's financial support has gone a long way in making this festival possible. He has instituted three cash prizes - Rs.10,000, Rs.5,000 and Rs.3,000 for the best three performers of the state-level Odissi dance competition that is an important segment of the event. Besides, dancers from outside Orissa State who are invited to perform in the festival are being offered travel expenses and hospitality by the hosts. Mr. Parija has announced to support the festival and offer the cash awards for 10 years.  

The recently concluded three-day 2nd annual Naveen Kalakar Odissi Utsav in Bhubaneswar was collectively inaugurated by well-known Odissi exponent Padma Sri Gangadhar Pradhan, Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee mardal guru Banamali Moharana and Ramahari Das, noted Odissi music composer and singer who is also the Chief Executive of the Bhubaneswar-based Odissi Research Centre. About 70 budding Odissi dancers participated in the festival and 21 of them walked away with the 'Odissi Jyoti' titles.  
'Odissi Jyoti' title winners for 2008 

Abhijit Deb (Tripura State), Odissi Research Centre, Bhubaneswar 
Alisha Mohapatra, Art Vision, Bhubaneswar, Guru: Ileana Citaristi 
Aurosmita Acharya, Suravi, Bhubaneswar, Guru: Pitambar Biswal 
Gitanjali Acharya, Srjan, Bhubaneswar, Gurus: Ratikant-Sujata Mohapatra 
Jaya Chattopadhyay, New Delhi, Guru: Late Surendra Nath Jena 
Jayasmita Patra, Suravi, Bhubaneswar, Guru: Pitambar Biswal 
 K.Jyotirmayee Patnaik, Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Bhubaneswar 
Pravat Swain, Orissa Dance Academy, Bhubaneswar, Guru: Aruna Mohanty 
Priyanka Malla, Gunjan Dance Academy, Cuttack, Guru: Meera Das 
Malabika Jena, Gunjan Dance Academy, Cuttack, Guru: Meera Das 
Nilanjana Mukherjee, Kolkata 
Rajnita Banarjee, Srjan, Kolkata, Guru: Ratikant Mohapatra 
Rajib Bhattacharya, Kolkata, Guru: Ratikant Mohapatra 
Sangya Sucharita Nayak, Suravi, Bhubaneswar, Guru: Pitambar Biswal 
Shashwati Garai, Kolkata, Guru: Sharmila Biswas 
Sarbani Nandy, Agartala, Guru: Bichitrananda Swain 
Soumya Bose (West Bengal State), Odissi Research Centre, Bhubaneswar  
Subhalaxmi Samal, Art Vision, Bhubaneswar, Guru: Ileana Citaristi 
Subhalaksmi Padhi, Utkal Dance Research Academy, Guru: Late Sahadev Padhi 
Suchitra Mohanty, Nrutyangana, Dhenkanal, Orissa 
Swaati Chattopadhyay, New Delhi, Guru: Late Surendra Nath Jena 

Winners of the Orissa state-level Odissi dance competition 
First: Pravat Kumar Swain, Orissa Dance Academy 
Second: Suchitra Mohanty (Dhenkanal) & Sangya Sucharita Nayak (Bhubaneswar) 
Third: Subhalaxmi Padhi (Bhubaneswar) 
Photos clockwise: Suchitra Mohanty, Sangya Sucharita Nayak, Subhalaxmi Padhi and Pravat Kumar Swain 

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