Odissi Academy

A not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization

Past Gurus

These are brief profiles of the Gurus who form the bedrock of ODISSI ACADEMY. Their journeys and passion are a lighthouse, eternally illuminating a path towards the revival of Indian art forms.

Guru Yudhisthir preforming Odissi Dance in the Soul's Expression

Guru Shri Yudhisthir Nayak (2016 – 17)

Guru Yudhisthir is a senior teacher at Orissa Dance Academy in Bhubaneswar. He is an acclaimed Odissi performer over the past 30 years. Started as a child Gotipua and Chhau Dancer, he transitioned into Odissi Dance. He learned Odissi under guidance from Guru Padmashri Gangadhar Pradhan, Smt. Aruna Mohanty, Shri Bichitrananada Swain, and Shri Manoranjan Pradhan. He has performed all over the world over the past three decades, with multiple visits to the USA including three performances in Houston. He also served as resident-guru at Odissi School in San Diego for 4 years.

Guru Bijayadas An Odissi instructor guiding through a dance lesson

Guru Shri Bijaya Kumar Dash (2017 – 20)

Received initial training at Orissa Dance Academy, Bijaya took his Masters in Music (Odissi Mardala) from Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Bhubaneswar. A Nritya Visharad from Prachin Kala Kendra as well as Alankar from Akhila Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandala, Mumbai, He is known for his perfection in chauka and bhangi postures. A senior teacher of the Orissa Dance Academy, he has staged performances in places like New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Faridabad, Guwahati, Nagpur, and Jaipur. He has also traveled abroad to participate in the 20th Spring Friendship Art Festival, Pyongyang, North Korea, 14th International Festival of Dance & Music, Thailand and perform in major cities of USA. He has also been honored with the Senior National Scholarship from the Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India.

Guru Pradhanta An Odissi dancer performing against Austin's cityscape

Guru Shri Prashanta Kumar Behera (2018 – 19)

Started his classical dancer career as “Gotopua” dancer until the age of 12. Thereafter joined Orissa Dance Academy, and trained by legendary Guru Padmashree Gangadhar Pradhan. At the academy, he learned finest Odissi tips and rigorous training from Padmashree Smt Aruna Mohanty, Guru Manaranjan Pradhan, and Guru Bichitrananda Swain. He is one of the finest male Odissi dancers in current genre. A recipient of academic Gold Medal in Odissi dance from Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, and several regional awards. He is also a prominent Pakhaja/Mardala player. He served as an in-resident teacher in Houston, teaches Odissi Dance and Odissi Music (Pakhaja).

Guru Ramesh Jena Odissi dancer practicing, immersed in his movements

Guru Shri Ramesh Chandra Jena (2019 – 20)

In the history of Odissi, no parallel can stand with Guru Ramesh Jena. In this era, he is the most experienced male Odissi dancer, teacher, choreographer, stage light & sound designer, and the finest Pakhaja/Mardal player. He started his Odissi journey through Gotipua dancer since the age of 5 in 1975.

Another significant attribute of Ramesh, he was trained by two Odissi stalwarts Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and Guru Gangadhar Pradhan.

A recipient of Senior National Scholarship from the Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India. A visiting lecturer at Auroville, and Center for World Music, USA. Ramesh is an ‘A’ grade artiste by the Department of Culture, India’s central government, and impaneled artiste of Indian Council of Cultural Relation. Including a combination of masculine charm and stylized form, he captivates the audience by his supple body movements. Extensively traveled to the USA, South Africa, France, and other European countries, China and Hong Kong.

He also excels in stage designing and lighting, always helps prominent Odissi artists, Guru Aruna Mohanty, Smt. Madhusmita Mohanty, Guru Sharmila Biswas, and many more.