About Sujata Mohapatra
Srimati Sujata Mohapatra is an Odissi dancer and devotee of Lord Jagannatha. She is a senior disciple of the legendary Odissi Guru KeluCharan Mohapatra.
Sujata Mohapatra has dedicated her life to upholding the rich culture and devotional mood that her guru embodied through his classicalization of the distinct Odissi dance form.
Under the expert guidance of Kelucharan Mohapatra also known to his disciples as “Guruji”, Sujata Mohapatra has become one of the foremost Odissi dancers of her generation.
Originally from Balasore, Sujata took birth in 1968 and was raised in a culture rooted in devotion to Lord Jagannatha. This Vedic/Oriya culture supports every individuals natural tendency to perform devotional service to please the Lord. One can easily utilize natural talents such as singing, dancing, poetry etc. as an offering to the Lord. Sujata Mohapatra’s innate love for devotional dance has defined her life offerings to Lord Jagannatha. As a young girl she was supported to dance by her mother, Srimati Kumudini Mohanty who was also a music and dance teacher. At the young age of four Sujata’s mother enrolled her into the Nrutya Sangeeta Kala Mandir in Balasore.
As she grew into her adolescence, Sujata continued her dance studies and began to study dance under the guidance of Guru Raghunatha Datta, while simultaneously pursuing a masters degree in Oriya Literature at Utkal University. She received an honorary doctorate for dance from Fakir Mohan University in 2023.
In the year 1989 Sujata began training in Odissi under the guidance of Kelucharan Mohapatra. Her love for Odissi dance evolved. Guruji saw a uniqueness and sincerity in his student Sujata. In 1997 her relationship with Guruji flourished from guru and disciple into the sacred relationship between Father in law and daughter in law when she became part of Guruji’s family by her marriage to his only son Ratikant Mohapatra. Carrying on his fathers dance legacy, Ratikant Mohapatra is the director at Guruji’s revered dance school Srjan, in Orissa.
Sujata and her husband have dedicated their lives to upholding the legacy of Guruji. Sujata and Ratikant are blessed with one child, their beloved daughter Preetisha Mohapatra, born in the year 1999. Preetisha is an established Odissi dancer and is currently performing with the Srjan dance troupe throughout India. Preetisha takes very seriously her responsibility of being the next generation torch bearer, following in the footsteps of their family dance tradition. Sujata’s beloved mother in law, Guruji’s wife the late Guru Ma Srimati Laxmi Priya Mohapatra was the first Odissi dancer who performed Odissi publicly on stage. Their entire family is committed to honoring the legacy of Guruji and the contributions he made to this sacred devotional dance form.
Sujata Mohapatra, also affectionately known as Sujata Appa by her many students is actively teaching the original style of Odissi dance as taught to her by her Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. Upholding her commitment to Guruji’s Parampara, Sujata Appa teaches students all across the world Guruji’s unique choreographies and is often hosting Odissi workshops throughout India.
By the expertise and guidance of her guru, Sujata Mohapatra is preserving the lineage of the pure Odissi dance form by consistently performing Guruji’s unparalleled choreographies as well as her husband Ratikant’s brilliant compositions all throughout India and worldwide. Although Sujata Mohapatra mainly performs as a solo artist, she is also known to give her students the most special opportunity to perform with her on stage in group performances.
The teachings and devotional mood of the late Guruji are living strong today by the sincerity and dedication of his dear disciple Sujata Mohapatra, who is following in his footsteps and spreading this devotional dance and prayer form all over the world.
Guruji always says to keep the tradition to keep your heritage, not an easy work. But those who have sincerity, honesty and love for their culture they will be able to keep the commitment, to keep the tradition always alive. Our tradition is our pride, and I have little request to the younger star, that they should do the things with love, faith and trust. Love for their Guru, love for their art, love for their tradition, will make this Parampara always alive.
Devotee, Disciple, Dancer, Wife, Mother, Daughter, World-renowned Dance Guru and Performer