About Contact Submit Article or Event

Discovering dance under Guru Mayadhar Raut

Guru Mayadhar Raut

Guru Mayadhar Raut is a living legend in the field of Odissi Dance. It is not often that one is given the opportunity to closely observe a maestro at work. Over the last twenty years I have come to slowly understand and appreciate the depth of thought and feeling that Guruji puts into his compositions. A hard taskmaster, he unravels his thought process slowly over the years, giving you time to digest, understand and imbibe his philosophy. Behind every action (especially in his Sanchaari compositions) is a profound spiritual and philosophical reason; something that he has thought about and dwelled on for a long time before composing. Every time I do an Abhinaya piece in front of him, he introduces a new layer, a subtle dimension. Every such little nuance adds another facet to the rich tapestry of movement and philosophy that he weaves.

Each Abhinaya piece composed by Guru Mayadhar Raut is an aesthetically beautiful piece of art and a statement in the essence of the Vaishnav bhakti philosophy. This is especially true of his Geet Govind compositions. Gurujis compositions go beyond the semantics of dance; they change your outlook to life. In his teaching, Guruji is not content with his student just mastering the physical actions of his choreographies, and continuously keeps pushing the emotive boundaries of the student. It took me time to understand what he wanted to get out of me. But now, the experience of having even a short class with him is extremely fulfilling and exhilarating. Guruji says dance is not in your body alone, not in your hands, legs or your face. It exists in your mind and comes from your heart. After you have mastered the basic body language you need to be able to take your dance to the next level; that is emotional and sacred. It takes a dedicated dancer and a discerning audience to do full justice to Guruji’s compositions.

An extremely sensitive person he is very tuned in to the moods and thoughts of his students. He is of the firm opinion that a dancer should live and experience the full spectrum of life. A family man himself, he encourages and supports his students to take on parallel careers, get married etc. For all his deep thinking and philosophical outlook to life, Guruji is a very simple man. He does not want much in the material world and does not seek attention or the limelight. But he expects the world from his students as far as dance is concerned.

With Guru Mayadhar Raut

An honest straightforward, soft-spoken, hardworking, sensitive person, Guruji is truly not of this world. He is not merely ahead of his times, but a complete dimension of time and space himself. At a time when dancers are highly competitive, politically suave and when very often good media and public relations decide the career graph of a dancer, Guruji continues on his own path, steering his students away from the commercial art world. He has created around him his own special universe which thrives on honesty, hardwork, humility, discipline and unbound creativity. The very few who measure up to his standards in all respects get a glimpse of this extraordinary universe.

When asked to compose ‘as per the need of the audience’, Guruji has always refused, saying that as artists it is our duty to take the viewers on a higher plane instead of coming to the level of the audience.. I feel truly special as learning under him has taught me the true meaning of dance as a saadhna, where the dancer dances for the sake of the dance alone; where dance is not corrupted by the need for public relations, social contacts and media visibility. Guruji has created and sustained a world where the relationship with ones guru is sacred. He has made dance for me not a means of external expression but a process of internalisation of energies within myself.