Odissi dawned on me like divine revelation due to the genius of Guru Surendra Nath Jena and the wonderful guidance of my Guru Pratibha Jena Singh. A guru is found by us, but actually he awaits us, waiting to impart to us wisdom that was meant only for us. With my Gurus as well, it was as if we had some connection from the past. There was an unbroken thread that brought me to find my artistic and spiritual answers in his dance, which were actually lessons and meditations on the universe. I have been immensely lucky to be one of the few dancers to be blessed with learning Guru Surendra Nath Jena’s Odissi style. Guruji is the only Odissi guru to have created compositions on Shaivite, Vaishnavite, Shakti and the Tantra traditions. Guruji has also fully explored the much neglected bhayanak and bhibhatsa rasas. If there is a radical, unique way of expressing Odissi, it is in the style of Guru Surendra Nath Jena. The British Academy in London has funded a documentary on the Odissi dance reconstruction by Guru Surendra Nath Jena, recognising its remarkable documentation of Orissa’s temples and its culture.
Guruji’s daughter Guru Pratibha Jena Singh been my Guru for more than a decade, teaching me the simplicity, unaffectedness and utter devotion that exemplify her dance. To date, she is the best exponent and teacher of Guru Surendra Nath Jena’s Odissi style. Pratibha maam - true to her name - is an ocean of talent who inspires us endlessly to find our way in Odissi. She has formed the Nrityashilp Dance Foundation to propagate Guru Surendra Nath Jena’s unique Odissi style through performances, workshops and lecture-demonstrations, and to impart holistic training to students in this style. More information on Guru Surendra Nath Jena’s dance style and the Nrityashilp Dance Foundation can be found at