Anita Babu [Orissa Dancer]
Anita Babu started learning Odissi since the age of 10 at the Orissa Dance Academy, Bhubaneswar, an institution set-up by Padmashree Guru Gangadhar Pradhan. Senior dancers of ODA like Nandita Pattnaik, Aruna Mohanty and Bichitrananda Swain have also played an important role in laying the foundations of Anita early in her life. She has been refining her dancing skills under the constant guidance and encouragement of her Guru as well as of the other senior students of the academy like Bichitrananda Swain and Aruna Mohanty.
Over the years, Anita has given numerous performances not only through the length and breadth of India but also overseas in countries like Nepal and United States. She has participated and performed at various festivals, namely the Konark Dance Festival, Puri Beach Festival, Pallavostava, etc. She is also a regular performer on Doordarshan, the national TV network and is also an empanelled artiste in ICCR in the Reference Panel of Artistes.
Her dedication to Odissi and pursuit of excellence finally paid result when she was selected by ICCR from among a galaxy of artistes to go on a long tour of USA from September to mid-November 2003 in which she gave more than 17 performances and 5 lec-dems.
She is also a very efficient teacher and has established a school called Odissi Natya Sala in Delhi in 1999 which has over 60 students today. A unique aspect of Odissi Natya Sala is that it provides ample opportunity to its students to come in contact with Gurus, senior dancers and choreographers of outstanding ability and calibre. The students also have the opportunity of being guided from time to time by Guru Gangadhar Pradhan and some other senior disciples of Guruji who come to Odissi Natya Sala as visiting faculty.
Coming from a simple Oriya middle-class family, she started learning Odissi at the age of 7 in her school before she became a disciple of Guru Gangadhar Pradhan and has remained ever since. In a society where girls learning dance after a certain age was looked down upon, she got the unstinted support of her family to continue with her dance but without ignoring normal education. Inspite of a lot of time being dedicated to Odissi, she still completed her Master in Arts degree in Anthropology from Utkal University.
For Anita Babu, “Life is Work & Work is Life”. This is so true for many people who have decided to dedicate their life to their profession. And Anita is one of them. But at the same time Anita also believes in not running away from other worldy duties. She is a teacher, dancer, housewife, mother, sister, daughter and a daughter-in-law, all rolled into one. And still she manages to do justice to all these roles with aplomb.
With the blessings of Lord Jagannath, her Guru, well wishers and patrons, Anita is determined to scale greater heights as a dancer and also make Odissi Natya Sala a premier institute for learning Odissi dance in India.