Padmashree & SNA Smt. Ranjana Gauhar & Utsav Educational and Cultural Society-Ranjana’s Odissi Dance Academy presents ZofiaLichota from Poland, a disciple of Guru Ranjana Gauhar in her Odissi ManchPraveshMahabhutas – Between Air and Earth” An ode to express her reverence to her Guru at 11 am on Saturday, January 20th, 2024 at IIC, New Delhi
Prepare to be swept away by the grace and power of Odissi dance as Zofia Lichota who is a disciple of the illustrious Guru Ranjana Gauhar and has been under her guru’s guidance for over the last 10 years. She takes the stage for her much-anticipated Manch Pravesh performance, ‘Mahabhutas – Between Air and Earth’. This solo showcase, on Saturday, January 20th, 2024, at 11 am at the India International Centre, New Delhi, marks a pivotal moment in Lichota’s artistic journey and promises an unforgettable experience for audiences.
Zofia sees herself as the flag bearer of the Indian Classical Dance form – Odissi in Poland, making this dance form popular overseas. She has showcased hundreds of performances in Poland and abroad which were organized in cooperation with the Indian Embassy in Poland.
Zofia’s Guru- Padmashree & SNA Awardee Ranjana Gauhar is a world-renowned Odissi dancer, writer, filmmaker-producer and choreographer, festival curator and her figures amongst the most distinguished exponents of this art form. She received Padmashree in 2003 and SNA award in 2007 along with many other accolades. Gauhar is the artistic director of Utsav’s repertory which is well known for its high standards of excellence and has performed widely in India and Abroad.
Mahabhutas is a solo Odissi performance exploring the profound connection between the elements of air and earth. Through five traditional choreographies, accompanied by a live orchestra, Zofia takes the audience on a journey through the divine power of air, the life-giving essence of earth, and the deep emotions that arise from their interplay.
The performance features a captivating selection of pieces:
Mangalacharan- ManikyaVeena: Invoking the divine power of Saraswati (Matangi), the goddess of music, poetry, and art, this piece showcases the gentle and graceful movements of Odissi dance.
ShankarabarnamPallavi: Depicting the delicate and blossoming movements characteristic of Odissi, this pallavi evokes the beauty of nature and the divine sculptures found in Odisha temples.
LalitLavangLata – Abhinaya: This is an ashtapadi taken from ShriGeetGovindam written by Saint Poet Sri Jayadev in the 12thCentury ,that is inspired by the springtime. This abhinaya piece celebrates the birth of love and the joy and longing it brings.
Radharani – Oriya song: Based on the playful love story of Krishna and Radha, this lyrical abhinaya portrays the divine experience found in true love.
Devi Shodashi followed by Moksha: Concluding the performance, this section pays homage to the eternal Shakti and her 16 forms. Moksha depicts the freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth, emphasizing the continuous interplay between air and earth throughout life.
Mahabhutas is not just a dance performance; it is a culmination of Zofia’s dedication to Odissi under the guidance of Guru Padmashree Ranjana Gauhar. It reflects not only her technical mastery but also her deep understanding of the philosophical and emotional depths of this classical Indian dance form.
Speaking about the performance, Zofia says, “Mahabhutas is a dream come true for me. It is a tribute to my guru, my love for Odissi, and the profound connection I feel with the natural world. Through this performance, I hope to share the beauty and wisdom of Odissi with the audience and inspire them to appreciate the divine aspects of our everyday lives.”
Guru Padmashree Ranjana Gauhar expresses her pride in her student by saying, “Zofia’s dedication and passion for Odissi are truly inspiring. Mahabhutas is a testament to her talent, hard work, and understanding of this art form. I am confident that she will continue to captivate audiences with her artistry and grace.”
ZofiaLichota’s path to Odissi wasn’t a quick hop across borders, but a graceful pirouette into a world of deep cultural immersion. Though her childhood unfolded in Poland with first love being Contemporary Dance, in 2006.Zofia experienced a connection with the captivating melodies and fluid movements of Odissi during a workshop that ignited a longing to delve deeper. This propelled her to come to India and learn Indian classical dance under guru shishyaparampara tradition after having joined Kuchipudi dance classes under Arunima Kumar in London.
Zofia sees herself as the flag bearer of the Indian Classical Dance form – Odissi in Poland, making this dance form popular overseas. She has showcased hundreds of performances in Poland and abroad which were organized in cooperation with Indian Embassy in Poland like Bengali New Year Celebrations in Sosnowiec (2009), Independence Day in Warsaw (2011) and Sosnowiec (2012), Bengali Cultural Day in Sosnowiec (2012), Diwali and Holi celebrations in Krakow, Wroclaw and Warsaw. She took part in Bengali dance drama Shyama, prepared by TAAL dance group on the occasion of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, supported by the Indian Ambassador H.E. Monika KapilMohta, ICCR and Indo-Polish Cultural Committee.
Apart from the above mentioned prestigious avenues, Zofia has performed on many other renowned platforms in India and internationally, like Poetry in Motion – “Kanupriya” dance drama” presented in Keats House. She has also performed in her guru repertory Utasv in various prestigious festivals such as Khajuraho dance festival, Odissi International Dance festival, Margi dance festival in Bhubanewsar. She has performed in her Guru’s dance productions such asChitrangada- The warrior Princess, Hindi Bharat Maa Ki Bindi, GeetGovind andNal- Damyanti.
Zofia deeply believes in the Guru-Shishya tradition and urges foreign students like her to learn their art in India rather than being remote from their Guru.
She reiterates that learning dance under her guru’s guidance has been a wholesome experience. According to her a Guru not just teaches the art to their disciples but also other virtues like to be a good human being, understand the surrounding world, cooperating with other dancers to bring art to the society.
In Zofia’s words, “It’s all about sharing our true love and appreciation for the created world and people. To enjoy and understand human feelings better and most importantly not be afraid of different emotions which are part of our daily life”.