Odissi has been in her blood. Born in a family of legendary Odissi icons, Sushree Shivangi Panigrahi, a class 12th student of DPS Kalinga, is rightfully taking the legacy of her grandmother iconic dancer Late Sanjukta Panigrahi forward. Odisha Links caught up with this budding talent.
Odisha Links – Given your family background, we know what inspired you to start dancing. But when did you start training professionally?
Sushree – I was inclined towards dance since childhood and took up training early on. I have been listening about how a great dancer my grandma was. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see her perform live. She is a legendary figure in Odissi and this made want to be like her.
Odisha Links – Unfortunately, your grandmother left for her heavenly abode a year before you were born. But what has been her role in shaping your dancing career?
Sushree – I have not been fortunate enough to see my grandmother but I feel she has always been with me. The love and affection everyone of my family shared with her made me realize what a great woman she was. In fact all my bedtime stories from grandfather were about her. She has been my inspiration right from my childhood, not only dance but she has also inspired my way of living. I feel connected to her through dance and thus I want to take forward her legacy. She is and always will be my idol.
Odisha Links – Have you ever felt pressurized for being from a family of Odissi legends? Has anyone ever compared you with your grandmother?
Sushree – Yes I do feel pressurized at times as the expectations from me are very high. They want to see her in me but they do not understand that I am nowhere comparable to her as far as her achievements and vast experience is concerned. It was a devotion of many years that made her a legendary Odissi exponent. But I am still on a learning process and it would take time and hard work to achieve what she has.
Odisha Links– Give us details about your performances. At which events have you performed?
Sushree – I have done a few of concerts like the Chandipur Festival, Keonjhar Festival, Guru Keerti Srjan annual Function, Jaleswar Festival, International Dance Festival and Sanjukta Panigrahi Memorial Trust annual festival.
Odisha Links – Your 12th standard results have been declared and you have done exceedingly well in academics too. Do you aim to become a dancer in your future or you have other ambitions?
Sushree – I want to be a dancer and take her legacy forward so that people don’t forget her contributions towards this country.