The National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) presents Living Traditions: Festival of Odisha

Bhubaneswar : India’s Premier Cultural Institution, The National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) is back with its twelfth edition of Living Traditions, an on-going series showcasing folk traditions of different regions of India. This year, the focus is on Odisha an Eastern state with prehistoric roots and rich cultural heritage on 6th and 7th March 2020 at NCPA, Mumbai.

The ethnic diversity of the region is amply reflected in the variety of dance forms, textiles, and its visual & sculptural art-forms. Artistic presentations are characterised by colourful costumes, accessories, ingenious instruments, and skilled body movements including mesmerising acrobatic gestures.

Supported by Godrej Industries, over the two days, six well known troupes will present two art forms of each music, dance and folk theatre representing folk forms from western, eastern and southern regions of Odisha: Balangir, Puri and Mayurbhanj. Presentation will be accompanied by narration in Hindi by Mr. Rakesh Tiwari, a well-known folklorist. Also, NCPA will display major art forms of Odisha and paintings done by children.

Speaking about the festival Dr. Suvarnalata Rao, Programming Head-Indian Music, NCPA commented, “we at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), have been committed to preserving folklore and talent from across the country. The evolution of Indian classical music is influenced by the regional folk melodies and rhythms. This year, Living Traditions, will be focusing on the rich state of Odisha, the region forested with rich natural resources, and varied flora and fauna. We aim to present the culture of the state through music, drama and dance forms.”

On 6th March 2020, Devotional music by Nilanchal Nanda and members of Dholmuhuri Kalaparishad will present folk songs typical of the Western Odisha, especially from the Balangir region. The poetry is in praise of both male and female deities.

The next presentation will be Mayurbhanj Chhau Dance by Dayasagar & group will perform, either solo, duet or in a group, mainly elicit heroic and fearful sentiments. Songs are based on traditional folk tunes and are accompanied by wind instruments like mahuri and drums such as dhol and dhumsa. The group is originated from the forests of Mayurbhanj region during the 18th century, the dance form has some elements of martial arts. Unlike the other chhau traditions, this style avoids the use of mask, laying emphasis on the portrayal of character only through facial and body gestures. Although many episodes are based on the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, some forms also depict the arduous life of daily labourers and fisher-folks.

To conclude day one, Lok Natya: Raaha by Anveshan. The folk play starts off with a meeting between two men, one from city and the other living in a jungle. The story unfolds including other characters, revealing customs, rituals and morals of the rural folks living in unison with the nature.

On 7th March 2020, Folk kirtan by Durga Prasad Barik and members of Bhakti Sandhya Anusthan will present devotional songs characteristic to the Eastern Odisha, especially from the Puri region. The poetry invokes blessings of various deities, especially Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of the land.

This will be followed by Ghudka Dance by Basudev Sa & group. Named after the tribal community that patronises this dance form, ghudka originates from Balangir region. The beats, the tunes, and the music of this folk form are known to create a mesmeric effect on the audience. The dance is characterised using a local wooden string instrument, also called ghudka or khamak, which is covered with iguana skin. Originally performed within the community to express their aspirations and anguish, today the dance form is a representative of the culture of Odisha.

Dance Drama: Jhoti Chita Muruja by Rangashala will conclude the festival performance. It has been a long-standing practice at the holy shrine of Puri, that irrespective of their caste and creed all devotees partake the prasad together. What’s the reason? The dance drama based on a story revolving around Lord Jagannath, his wife, Lakshmi Devi, and his brother, Balaram, reveals the truth.

Festival Schedule


Date and Day Performance Venue Time
Friday, 6th March 2020 o   Devotional music by Nilanchal Nanda and members of Dholmuhuri Kalaparishad

o   Mayurbhanj Chhau Dance by Dayasagar & group

o   Lok Natya: Raaha by Anveshan

NCPA, Mumbai 6:30pm
Saturday, 7th March 2020 o   Folk kirtan by Durga Prasad Barik and members of Bhakti Sandhya Anusthan

o   Ghudka Dance by Basudev Sa & group

o   Dance Drama: Jhoti Chita Muruja by Rangashala

NCPA, Mumbai 6:30pm


About the NCPA:

Opening its doors to the world in 1969, the NCPA became the first multi-venue and multi-purpose cultural centre to be built in South Asia. Vibrant and diverse, the NCPA today is recognized by artists, patrons and media alike as India’s premier performing arts institution. The Centre provides a fine showcase for India’s rich performing arts traditions, all thanks to the institution’s training and research initiatives.

The NCPA presents over 600 events each year across all major art forms, most notably Indian Music, International Music, Theatre and Film, Dance, and Literature, Visual Arts and Photography. There are Heads of Programming  for  each  of  these  art  forms  who  curate  innovative  events  and  festivals;  representative  of everything from classical to contemporary throughout the year. The NCPA produces its own programmes as well as collaborates with leading cultural promoters from around the world. NCPA is the only member organisation of the International Music Council (IMC) from India.

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