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Poetry in Motion – Lipsa Satpathy

 

Dance is an art form which is a combination of theatre, literature and music amalgamated together in the form of ‘Bhaav’ and ‘Mudra’. Today talks with an amazingly talented and graceful dancer whose grace and charm is magical. Lipsa Satpathy is an Odissi dancer, Choreographer, Anchor and Actress.

Telling about her self she says, “Over three decades of dedication in Odissi ‘Nritya’ and Natya. I am born into a family of art lovers, my mother Smt Chitralekha Dash, an Odissi dancer of her times is the bulwark of myself as a performing artist of the international repute.”

“My academic and cultural aspirations went parallel from the age of five at Orissa Dance Academy, Bhubaneshwar under the inspiring guidance of Padmashree Guru Shri Gangadhar Pradhan, respected and versatile doyen of Odissi and under the tutelage of Guru Bichitrananda Swain and Padmashree Guru Aruna Mohanty, I could learn the intricacies and techniques of Odissi dance.”

You said your mother was an Odissi dancer too. Tell us more about her contribution to your life.

“My mother has been a great inspiration and support to me. Though she used to learn the art in her childhood days, due to early marriage and family commitments, she could not pursue formal training. However, the artist in her never refused to slow down and I have grown watching her dance and that inspired me to pursue this art formally. It would never have been possible without her support and foresight, I would have reached to where I am.  Other than her, there is no one in our close family who has taken formal dance training.”
I am also the founder of Nritya Kriti – Academy and hold my Masters in Sociology from Utkal University, Orissa and Alankar Purna from Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai.

Nritya Kriti – Share this dream of yours with us.

It is almost 16 years back, when I moved to Mumbai I started formal teaching of Odissi dance and the assignment wast was with prestigious IIT, Powai. And since then teaching became an integral part of my activity. As an artist, it is my duty to spread awareness about the Indian art and culture not only through performances, which I have been doing globally but also to educate and develop more artists of Odissi dance form.
Though I was teaching informally, it was in 2017 I started my small academy based in Gurugram to teach this art form to the people across all genders, age and profession. Currently, my students are from five until working executives who are regular to my academy. In addition, I have overseas and out-location students through Online classes.

How was your childhood? Was dance always your passion?

“My childhood is the backbone of what I am today and proud of the values and culture I have been bought up.  Living in a big Indian traditional joint family has it own rich charm and immense impact in the upbringing of a person, in short, it is the root – your origin the almighty bless us all with. Having quite of a sibling’s around we always had playful and joyous moments which I still cherish. Most of us, especially girls used to go together to dance classes which were like extended playtime for us.”She shares warmly

“As mentioned, I was introduced to the world of Odissi dance at a tender age of 5, I always wanted to be a performing artist to become an ambassador of our rich cultural heritage of Indian classic dance – Odissi. With all the due support, especially from my mother, my family and friends I even started to perform in various prestigious festivals then and since then, with God’s grace, there has been no looking back.”

Indeed with the kind of work done by Lipsa, she is steering ahead in the world of performing arts. Lipsa has been bestowed upon both with awards and accolades.

She is the recipient of Senior National Scholarship from Ministry of Tourism & Culture, India and has been International Ambassador of Performing Arts, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Malaysia. She has been Conferred title Singaramani by Sur Sringar Samsad, Mumbai and prestigious ‘Aradhana Samman for Performing arts, Gotipua Mahotsav’, Bhubaneswar.

Women with delicate graceful dance movements and fiercely independent thoughts made way to the next few questions.

Women are subjected to more scrutiny on their decision by family friends or society? What does she feel?

“I agree with it partially. Reason being, in our vast country we have so much diversified that it is impossible to point down on one characteristic to define our society. In our performing arts, it is not only dance, but we also have a rich support system for other arts as well and always there always has been a Woman proving par excellence in every field. This is the same country and society, as it was a century ago. Women were always there, in the past yes, might be their challenges from family, friends and society would have been there, but I do not agree in these modern times there are such issues”
” We find our family, friends, society accepting artists with more open arms and above all with respect. About me in person, it would not have been possible for me to reach whatever little success and position I have reached, without the support of my parents and now my husband. For that matter, I would not shy away to thank my little son who is so supportive and encourages me at his tender age.”
“I do see many more of my fellow artists also sharing the same thoughts. We all do see this as professional hazards like any other profession now. The fact remains, today almost every Indian family is looking forward to exploring possibilities and see their child as a performing artist. With so many talents shows, immense participation by kids I see parents are more forthcoming which is a symbol of the progress we have made in our work and industry.”

Yes, indeed art is accepted with open arms.

But has she ever experienced a gender bias? Who are the people who have boosted her confidence?

“It does exist, unfortunately, it’s a global fact. The myth of Women cannot do it has been sadly created by male-dominated societies. Women have been emotionally been exploited in the past as well as be in-home or workplaces. However, in the past few decades, it has changed and the whole eco-system is evolving to gender equality and acceptance of women being capable of handling anything and everything.”
“Women are everywhere not only in art, but be it Defence or commercial Pilots, Doctors and engineers, Administrative positions, Entrepreneurs, and likewise I do see the best Chefs today are Men! On a serious note, it is a proven fact that there will be people who will always try to pull you down. Women have performed better than men on this ground to take control of emotions, dreams and desires, determination and yet dedicated to anything they do. We all have our own choices and decisions.”

Do you think Women Empowerment is sometimes painted wrong nowadays?

“Let us try to be specific to our nation on this question. We need to accept Women have been socially been suppressed due to male dominance from many many years, and things are changing just from the past few decades. It will take time and I personally feel we lose our patience at times. Look at the current situation due to Covid19, professional women are not only committed to their work but doing more than usual to take care of the family needs at this juncture.”
“I would like to ask you and the readers, what you feel about Men contribution towards domestic needs. Maybe there is parity unfortunately in the amount of money male member(s) earn as compared to female(s), but is this about earnings or commitments. I do not see it far way when this parity is also the past, but it will be interesting to look back after a few years when people were perplexed with these words of Women empowerment and feminism.  Feminism as mentioned earlier, it exists but it is very short-lived now.”
“I do also agree on many women at times do take advantage of situations, changing laws, open societal conditions which are unacceptable. In the race of gender equality, we need to remember we are seeking equality and not the mistake men did of proving to be superior – which will be next disaster.”

What is woman empowerment to you?

“Empowerment is a state of mind to me. At the end of the day, everyone craves for respect and appreciation – who does not like that. It instils a sense of confidence when empowerment word is used especially for females. Women have certain innate and unique qualities which makes them different specie altogether.”
“As part of Woman empowerment movement, we even see women take the front line on international borders, complex and physically challenging jobs, breaking mind and physical barriers, this will play a most important role for the generations to come.”
“All we women need to understand empowerment is our enablement to be equal and not superior.  We have been born and bought up in our rich cultural heritage and values which we are proud of, and same values have to be instilled in our next generations to come for the betterment of society and the universe.”

The interaction was beyond the art form which Lipsa is associated with rather an attempt to bring the more humane facet of this alluring artist!

While we wrapped up the conversation we wished her more success and accolades and also promised to see her on stage soon!

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