Padmashri Guru Mayadhar Raut
Groomed in Odissi in the Guru-Shishya tradition since early childhood, Mayadhar Raut also had the advantage of learning under the direct tutelage of Rukmini Devi Arundale at Kalakshetra for many years. The Odissi repertoire as it exists today is indebted to Guru Mayadhar Raut more than to any other Guru.
As the founder member of Jayantika, an association formed in the 1950's, Guruji has played a major role in giving Odissi its classical status. Guru Mayadhar Raut is the first Odissi Guru to introduce MUDRA VINYOGA in the study of Odissi in 1955 and SANCHARIBHAVA in the Odissi dance items. He is also the first to present on stage enchanting Gitagovinda ASHTAPADIS, portraying SHRINGARA RASA.
His notable compositions include 'Pashyati Dishi Dishi'. 'Priya Charu Shile', composed in 1961. Earlier, only the Oriya songs or the ASHTAPADI 'Lalit Lavanga Lata' and 'Dashavatar' were taught and performed.
A master of Natyashastra and Abhinaya Darpana, he has done yoeman's service to enrich the Abhinaya vocabulary of Odissi. As the founder Guru of Kala Vikas Kendra in Orissa, he trained Surendranath Jena, Hare Krishna Behera and Ramani Ranjan Jena, all established Gurus today. Guruji taught at Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra from 1970 till 1995.
Guru Mayadhar Raut has been honoured with -
Padma Shri Award (2009), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Sahitya Kala Parishad Award, Utkal Pratibha Puraskar, Odissi Sangeet Natak Academy Award, Rajeev Gandhi Samman and Kavi Samrat Upendra Bhanja Award.
He continues to remain "the high priest of Indian Classical Dance, one who has trained a galaxy of prominent performing artists". The Guru, who silently seeks excellence and perfection in creative pursuits without a penchant for the limelight, but the one who always illuminates the path of his disciples.