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The Patnaik Family: Devraj Patnaik

Arts & Expression, South Asian, Dance

The Artistic Director of Chitralekha Odissi Dance Creations, he is a multi-talented prodigy who bestrides the Odissi world. His abilities as a dancer, dance choreographer, music composer and percussionist combined with his innate create drive have made him imminently qualified for his favorite endeavour: the creation of new works.

His native talent for dance has been nurtured by the tutelage of Kalasri Chitralekha Patnaik, Padmasri Gangadhar Pradham, the late Padmabibhusan Kelucharan Mohapatra, the late Padmasri Pankaj Charan Das and Kumari Ellora Patnaik. His skill in percussion extends to both the pakhawaj and the tabla. He has received training in pakhawaj from Guru Sri Banamali Maharana and Guru Sri Gangadhar Pradhan, and training in tabla from Badya Samrat Sri Umesh Chandra Kar. He has taught Odissi dance since 1986, performed professionally since 1988 and taught himself tabla since 1991.

As a choreographer, Devraj has dedicated himself chiefly to Odissi, but in music composition, his ability spans the field of Indian Classical.

In 1994, he co-founded Chitralekha Odissi Dance Creations Incorporated (CODC) with his mother, Chitralekha and his elder sister, Ellora.

His directorial debut, 'Konark Lasya Lila' was presented in 1996. In 2002, Devraj began working on the 'Mahabharata Quadrilogy from the Kurukshetra Chronicles' for which he created, over the course of five years, all of the music and dance. He also performed the title roles of each of the four productions: 'Bhishma'(2003); 'Drona' (2004); 'Karna' (2005) and Arjuna (2006). Despite the intense effort demanded by the quadrilogy, he also managed to create his magnus opus, the landmark Odissi abhinaya, 'Shiva Naba Rasa', which premiered in 2005.

Most recently, Devraj performed in 'Devi' in 2007 and at the 2008 CanAsian Dance Festival. Currently, and as ever, Devraj is engaged in the creation of new dance and music works.