Streets Of Symphony: Konark
A Gotipua photo story
The morning breeze streamed across our faces. The sound of young boys laughing filled the air - almost in sync with the waves that caressed our feet.
The scene in front of us was beyond surreal. We were at the Konark beach and the stunning Mahindra XUV500 stood there against the crashing waves and in all its glory. We were just in time for the sunrise. The golden rays covered the dominant XUV500 like shining armour. The boys spent the entire morning shooting their signature Gotipua dance steps around the XUV500 and then ran around the beach playing football with our friends.
We were not surprised by how quickly they transformed from carefree young boys to serious professional dancers. After all, they have been practicing Gotipua, a centuries old dance form in a gurukul setting since they were 8-years old.
But, there is another transformation that left us in wonder. The transfiguration of the Gotipua male dancers into females for the stage. Confused?
In Oriya, “Goti” means “single” and “Pua” means “boy”. This centuries-old acrobatic dance form is performed by young boys who dress up as females to praise Lord Jagannath and Lord Krishna. The dancers also do the singing as they skillfully glide through the repertoire of the dance, including the Vandana Prayer, Sa ri ga ma (a pure dance number, celebrating beauty and highlighting mastery of technique), Abhinaya (enactment of a song, interpretation of poetry from ancient writings) and Bandha Nrutya (a dance with acrobatic figures and movements). Mastering this dance form requires rigorous training and regular practice. Most start at a very young age and the boys devote a large chunk of their boyhood to master the Konark Natya Mandap and this dance form.
Along with a photographer from our group, we set out to uncover the transformation that takes place for the performance and discover the convergence between the artist and his art.