Uma Panigrahi

Uma Panigrahi is and Odissi dancer from Geneva, Switzerland whose parents belonged to Orissa.

It was the dream of Uma Panigrahi's mother to take her to India each year to study Odissi dance. And Uma indeed would spend 3 to 4 hours a day with her guru, Guru Harekrishna Behera, to learn new Orissi items as Odissi Kendra in New Delhi. Though she never danced professionally, Orissi dance was. and still is the passion of Ms. Panigrahi's life. In fact, she credits the spiritual and aesthetic beauty of Odissi dance for now helping her through the difficult recent passing of her mother.

Uma Panigrahi's mother, Uma Panigrahi, Guru Harekrishna Behera, his wife the Guruma and their daughter Kalyani, who teaches Orissi in Delhi, 2006

Uma Panigrahi's guruji knew her and her mother since 1970 when her mother was working as the Deputy Director General of Tourism in Delhi (little Uma was seven at that time). Uma's mother had never learnt any music or dance, but was a great singer and knew all of the Gita Govinda songs by heart. She had beautiful voice, and she would sometimes sing backup to replace professional singers on stage. She also attended rehearsals for several months, and unconsciously picked up all the songs and managed to replace the singer on stage for the famous Kanchi Vijay Ballet composed by Kelucharan Mohapatra (who had also taught Uma when she was a child). After that, they were transferred to Geneva. Her guru was also greatly inspired by Uma's mother's voice, and specially composed all her items for her.

Ms. Uma Panigrahi can be reached by email at:

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