Jyotiranjan Das – a Gotipua dancer
Gotipua, a traditional dance form has an important place in the culture of Odisha. It is performed by young boys and involves a range of acrobatic moves – right from handstands to human pyramid.
A student of standard V in Government Kapoteshwar High School in Raghurajpur, Puri, Jyotiranjan joined the Padmashri Guru Magunidas Gotipua Gurukula Niketan (dance academy) to learn Gotipua at the age of seven. He already has to his credit over 20 performances in various cities of Odisha, including Puri and Bhubaneshwar, as well as metros such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata.
Jyotiranjan intends to put this dance form on the world map so that it does not disappear like several other traditional dance forms in the country. In the future, the young boy might look at it as a source of income, but for now, he is happy that it gives him an opportunity to travel to different parts of the country. The dance also gives him an exposure to the world outside the heritage town of Raghurajpur.
His long-term plan is to master the dance form and help to promote it all over the world by teaching others. “If we do not save these dance forms, there will come a day when no one will know about them,” he says innocently.
His family is based in Puri. His father Nalinikanta Das works as a priest, while his mother Sailabaila is a homemaker. Jyotiranjan lives in the hostel facility provided by the dance academy which eases the burden on the family. Here children wake up 4 am and begin their dance practice which goes on for two hours. After practice, they do their homework and leave for school. The academy also takes care of their students’ breakfast and dinner, while Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal takes care of their lunch at the school.
Jyotiranjan says he likes coming to school because he gets to learn about different things in life and also play kho-kho and kabaddi with his friends. As for academic learning, he enjoys Odiya literature. He also likes environmental science and geography as they give information about the nature, planet, different countries, etc.
The 10-yr-old Jyotiranjan is confident that he will make it big in the world of Gotipua and to a great extent, his confidence stems from the exposure he has got over the course of time. As for his parents, they want him to focus on both – dance and academics and make a name for himself all over the world.