Guru Sri Bichitrananda Swain

Whatever I have achieved, whatever I am today is only because of the grace and blessings of the Divine Mother, Adya Parashakti Maa Mangala Gauri. She is my only mother and the sole support on my journey. At the young age of nine, I lost my own mother, and my father passed away when I was in my fourth year of college. Since then I have been an orphan, surrendering everything to the Universal Mother and taking shelter at her holy feet. When I was a young boy I was sceptical of the simple faith practised by those around me. I wondered at those people who worshipped stones and idols with so much sincerity and devotion. 

But the course of my life changed forever one day as I returned home in the dark through a graveyard where a corpse was being burned. Out of fear I found myself calling on the Divine Mother for protection. Like a loving mother who only needs to be called once by her child to run to his aid, she was as if just waiting for my call to come into my life. Suddenly she revealed her power to me and filled me with super-human strength. This happened just at the point in my life when I began learning dance and music. I know now that she was preparing me to assume my life’s calling and giving me the strength to endure the many hardships of an artist’s life. When I look back over the ups and downs in my life and career, I see that it is all a part of her divine plan. 

I never thought from those lonesome and humble beginnings that I would now be surrounded by so many talented students who make me proud every day. I never had any intention to start an organization like rudrakshya. I saw a need for a gurukul where there would be harmony between Guru and disciples and where students, teachers, friends and community members would all feel at home. I wanted to create a space to nurture the talent in young dancers and give them the training and confidence to succeed as artists in their own right. I have been blessed with many talented and hard-working disciples and many wonderful supporters and well-wishers. Thanks to the combined efforts of many, Rudrakshya Foundation is an ever-growing success.

One of the most important aspects of rudrakshya’s work is to promote wider acceptance of the male aesthetic in Odissi dance. I had the great fortune to study for two and a half years at the Odissi Research Center under the guidance of Padma Vibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. Both he and his prime disciple, Smt. Sanjukta Panigrahi were very influential in my life. Through Guruji’s impeccable technique and incredible skill, I understood the inner science of dance and music. Sanju Nani was a great help to me. She was a great example for me of a brilliant artist and was someone who did a lot to support young male dancers like myself. In the Odissi Research Center at that time, I remember my frustration as a male dancer in a situation where male dancers were regularly passed over in favour of females when roles were being assigned.

It was a regular occurrence to find a girl playing Radha and another girl playing Krishna. As it is, in Vrindavan there were many gopis and only one Krishna, and when that singular male role was again assigned to a girl, wouldn’t all of us boys feel pain? With no scope to get onto the stage, many inexperienced boys took to becoming early gurus. But with insufficient training and lack of artistic maturity, what real knowledge would they be able to impart?
When I myself began teaching and I saw many talented young men with an interest in pursuing dance as a career, I thought that it was high time for the system to change. Why shouldn’t boys be highlighted? That was when I resolved to focus on teaching young boys to be perfect dancers and effective teachers.

I started creating choreographies that would suit boys and highlight their strength and vigour. I didn’t want to force the male body into feminine-looking movements.
I wanted to shift the balance in Odissi from being solely a women’s profession to being something which could be practised with equal success by both men and women. And I am happy because more boys are dancing now and dancing well.
But my work is far from over. To accommodate the ever-growing influx of students from around the globe who are interested in learning dance at Rudrakshya Foundation and to expand our capacity to serve the dancers in our local community, I have a dream of shifting our gurukul from its current location to a piece of pristine land which I have purchased 10 km outside of Bhubaneswar.

This would be a permanent location where we could create the ideal environment for living a life of dance and music. With the blessing of the Divine Mother Mangala Gauri, this vision will become a reality.
I pray that my next life and life after that should also be devoted to serving this art. I think that my children are really wonderful and I love them unconditionally. We are truly a family. Anyone from any corner of the universe is welcome to rudraksh to share our art. That is the true message of Rudrakshya Foundation the world is one family and through sharing our art we promote universal brotherhood.


Established in the year of 2000 by Guru Sri Bichitrananda Swain, Rudrakshya Foundation has manifested itself as one of the finest centres for culture and art not only in Orissa but across pan India. Rudrakshya Foundation is not just a dance institute but is a crowning institution where art and dance form blends up to create an embodiment of pure performing art envisaging the perfection of artistic comprehensibility, lucidity and precision.

This famous institution runs in the praxis of ancient Gurukul antiquity of Indian Art Schools. It is like a garden where the seed of dance is sown and is nourished into a full bloom flower. The proficiency and the overall ambience have made this institute a connoisseur of performing art. The students here are nurtured and encouraged with the affection of the teachers.
Many students of this institute have established themselves with fame and accomplishment outside India and are still enriching this institute by promoting its unique mode of teaching. The passion with which the students of the institute can embrace the very subtlety of dance and its bold and vigorous movements makes it a part as well as a prominent amongst the contemporary Odissi dance schools. Apart from dancing, students here are trained under Odissi percussion (Mardala). Moreover, theory classes for the development of Odissi aesthetics and a grooming class are also given on a regular basis. The student of Rudrakshya’s ensemble has performed all over India and on different parts of American, Asian and European countries and has gathered appreciation for its excellence. Very few of contemporary Odissi dance academy has achieved such perfection as Rudrakshya Foundation.

The syllabus of the Odissi dance repertoire at Rudrakshya Foundation consists of 10 years. Hence we have ten different batches from sub-junior to 8th year. There are two CLASSES in a week for every batch and the duration of each class is two hours. The Rudrakshya Foundation has been organizing Annual Dance Festival “NINAAD" every year in the month of May giving facilities to all the students from sub-junior to senior level, as an opportunity to perform before an audience. 

We provide continuous special classes during summer vacation from 1st May until 15th June of every year. Apart from the basic techniques of Odissi dance, students learn new items according to their respective levels of experiences. For the students who are coming from abroad, we organize summer classes till the end of August.

We have a special course for the teachers who are teaching at Rudrakshya Foundation throughout the year. Every day we have five hours of the training class, starting with body warm-up, stretching and then exercises, Chauka, Tribhangi, Chari, Bhramari (these are all the basic techniques of Odissi Dance), correction and teaching of new items.  Apart from above-mentioned activities, the items of the Odissi repertoires are practised and the teaching method is developed through discussion and interaction with established Gurus and dancers.

There are two performing units at Rudrakshya Foundation. Senior performing unit under the guidance of Guru Sri Bichitrananda Swain learns new choreographies and do group rehearsal for different productions and performances. The senior students of Rudrakshya take the class of the junior performing unit five days in a week and each day for three hours. Students practice to perfect their skills to be presented as solo and group performer in the state and national level. 

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