Our Performing Group

Our teaching center and performing group is directed by Guru, Janmejoy Sai Babu.  It is composed by  permanent dancers, professionals in different forms of dance both classical and modern, and with different artistic backgrounds, learning the style of Mayurbhanj Chhau under the guidance of Guruji.

In our performances we display the elements of this attractive discipline through its traditional context, molding them with innovative and creative compositions.  Some of the items  we perform are the traditional versions of the dance that have been carried out for generations with few changes here and there, yet others are complete modifications of the original versions that have been choreographed by Guruji, refining the movements and adding gestures,  facial expressions and even mudra (hand gestures) to convey the message of slokas or other narrative sources.  The costumes of the characters played have also been revised in order to give them a more classical look, fit for the Delhi or the international stage.  Since it is not always easy to put together a Chhau orchestra, we can perform on recorded music, but we always prefer the live sound of the Dhol.

Wanting to deliver Mayurbhanj Chhau at a higher performing level, our repertories are varied and consist of group dances, solos or duets.  Some of them are:

One of the many asanas executed in the item.

Nataraj: Lord Shiva’s cosmic dance is recreated through this item showing various types of Tandava.  Begining with the shant ras (peaceful mood) he displays his mastery over yogic asanas. As his meditation is disturbed by the demon Apasmara, he diplays his force of destruction with the Roudra tandava.  This is followed by an ecstatic whirl of re-creation in his blissful dance of Ananda Tandava.  Solo dance item.

Geeta: Revisiting the epic scene where the Pandavas and Kaurvas are assembled to engage in warfare, this dance composition tells how Lord Krishna reveals his divine identity and instructs Arjun to fulfill his dharmic duty even by fighting his own kin. Duet Dance.

The brahmin boy (girl in this case) leaving home after the Upanayanam ritual to embark on a journey of self discovery.

Dandi: Item enacting the path following the ritual of the sacred thread (Janeu) when the Brahmin steps into the world of celibacy, having to leave his relatives and all material possessions to search for the knowledge of the immortal self. Solo dance item, or also performed in group. This is also one of my personal favorites, it’s really touching.

Martial Art: The passionate warriors reproduce the martial movements in a most graceful way as a means of entertainment and celebration, displaying the heroic array of attack and defense movements. Group dance.

Guru Janmejoy Sai Babu

Guru Janmejoy was born in the Mayurbhanj District of Orissa on 29th October, 1948, in a family of traditional Chhau dancers.  Guided since childhood by his illustrious family members, particularly his eminent uncle, late Guru Anant Charan Sai Babu (Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee), Guruji studied with some of the most significant Gurus of his time, becoming versatile in the different styles concerning Chhau, allowing him to portray various roles, including both male and female characters. After graduating from Utkal University in 1972, he came to Delhi and joined Bal Bhawan Society under a project of the Ministry of Education until 1976, when he decided to expand his horizons in the art of Chhau.   Armed with a deep knowledge of the tradition and a keen desire to create, throughout the course of his career he has experimented with Odissi and Chhau items, creating a beautiful balance of tandava and lasya. Also he has associated with many eminent gurus, composing successful productions. Some of them include: Late Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, (Bhakta Prahalad Charitra), Shri Guru Mayadhar Raut (Krishna Charitra Manassa), Sonal Mansingh (Sudama Charitra), Ranjana Gauhar (Nall Damayanti, Geeta Govinda, Udaya Astha, Vasundhara). He also conducted workshops with Protima Gaouri Bedi in Nrutyagram, Kathak exponent Maya Rao in Bangalore, and taught in Natya Ballet Center (1993-2009) and Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra (1985-87, 2004-08), thus training many renowned dancers both from India and abroad. As the first to introduce Mayurbhanj Chhau choreography in NSD theater plays, he collaborated with important theater directors and personalities like Rabin Das (Janmejay Ka Nag Youngya, Muchha Katti Kam, Anamdas ki Potha, Raja Abu), V. M. Saha (Abhimanyu), Anamika Hakssar (Dak Ghar), and Anuradha Goel, among others.  Promoting Chhau and bringing this art to youngsters, he has worked with important schools such as Green Field Public School, St. Columbus School, Modern Junior School, creating ballets based on various themes (Nari Shakti, Samudra Manthan, Journey of the Dawn, Ram Charitra Manassa).

As a true art lover, he has made it his special aim to research, improve and develop the different elements concerning the dance with the intention of giving it a classical scope and presenting it in such a way fit for national and international audiences. As a result, he has enriched the repertoire, adding his own refinement of the body language to the style, and bringing more beauty and elegance to the costumes. As a recipient of the NATIONAL INTEGRATION AWARD from the Utsav Cultural Society, New Delhi 1994, and the Nritya Siramani Award from Delhi Oriya Sangeet Sabha, Guruji has proved to be a profound exponent of this unique dance form and his versatile teaching demonstrates the depth of his lineage. Adding up to more than 39 years of  experience in the field, in the effort of carving the way for the classical forthcoming and evolution of Chhau, he continues to teach and choreograph devoting his life to this traditional art form.