Director - Jhelum Paranjape

Faculty - Ankur Ballal| Dipali Tikam |Rupali Kadam

Dance has been a way of life with me since childhood. For a number of years I performed in the dance ballets staged by the Rashtra Seva Dal Kalapathak under the direction of noted poet Vasant Bapat and tutelage of Shri Ramesh Purav. The troupe has presented several memorable shows. Maharashtra Darshan, Bharat Darshan, Shiv Darshan and Azadi Ki Jung can be cited as particularly noteworthy productions. Since 1977, I have dedicated myself to the pursuit of Odissi dance. Starting my training with Guru Shankar Behera, I have -since 1980 until his death in 2004 - been training with the doyen of Odissi dance, Padmavibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. I have been actively performing since 1983. When I began my training in Odissi with Shankar Behera, Smita Patil was my active partner. Though she shifted to film very soon, her mind was always into dance.

She was my friend & mentor. It was through her that I was introduced to Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. She died in 1986, I was already teaching in a small way by then. Her memory was very much inherent in me - I wanted to give it a concrete form. That is how Smitalay was formed.


  • Performances at Major dance Festivals
  • Overseas tours
  • Awards
  • Theatre
  • Ballets
  • Theme-Based Choreogrphies
  • Collaborations
  • Ballets for Smitalay
  • Associations with other Productions
Performances at Major Dance Festivals

  • Pradakshina - New Delhi, festival celebrating the 75th birthday of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. Khajuraho Dance Festival.
  • Music Academy, Chennai.
  • NCPA, Mumbai.
  • Konark Festival, Bhubaneshwar.
  • Dasshera Festival, Mysore.
  • Chaitanyamay Bharat Festival, Nehru Center, Mumbai.
  • Kaveer Festival, MTDC, Kolhapur.
  • Sankat-Mochan Festival, Varanasi.
  • Mhalsa Festival, Goa Kala Academy, Goa.
  • Samantar Festival, Nehru Center, Mumbai.
  • Winter Festival, Udaipur.
  • Barse Badariya Festival, SCZCC, Vijaywada.
  • Raj Bhavan, Mumbai.
  • Italian Consulate, New Delhi.
  • Nritya Parva, Bhubaneshwar - All India Odissi Festival organised by Central Sangeet Natak Academy.
  • Elephanta Festival, MTDC, Mumbai.
  • Kala Ghoda Festival, Mumbai.
  • Ellora Festival, MTDC, Mumbai.
  • Swar Sagar Mahotsav, Chinchwad (Pune), Municipal corporation of Pimpri Chichwad
  • Dev Gandharva Mahotsav , Kalyan
  • Bi-Annual All India Dance festival organised by Nehru Centre
  • Hampi Mahotsav, organised by govt. of Karnataka.
  • National Odissi Festival, Bhubaneshwar organised by Odissi research centre.
  • Sri Kshetra Mahotsav, Puri-Orissa organised by govt. of Orissa.
  • Ekamra Mukteshwar Festival, Bhubaneswar, organised by govt. of Orissa.
  • Nrityadhara Festival, Nasik, organised by Sanskar Bharati.

I have also done numerous solo dance recitals, in conferences hosted by Hindustan Lever, BARC, TIFR etc. Group Odissi performances and lecture demonstrations for various dance circles and institutions like "Spicmacay", all over India and abroad. I have participated in the various dance ballet productions of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, notable being the role of Krishna in Jayadeva's Geet Govind.

I am an ‘A’ grade artist of Doordarshan and also empanelled by the ICCR.

Overseas Tours

  • Festival of India, USSR.
  • Dance tour of Canada and the USA. In this tour, apart from giving solo performances also conducted workshops on comparative dance for the students of North American Universities.
  • Dance tour of Italy with the Ballet "Maya Darpan".
  • Dance tour of USA including participationin the “International Odissi Fest”.
  • Participated in the prestigious Edinburgh festival, Scotland & also performed in Ireland.
  • Dance tour of Northern China with four artists from Smitalay.
  • Performances and Workshops  conducted  in  California and  Hawaii  in  2005 & 2007.
  • Performed at the bi annual BMM conference held at Seattle, USA, a confluence of Odissi dance and Hindustani classical music rendered by noted vocalist Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande, as also Odissi dance and Marathi poetry with poetess Vijaya Rajyadhyaksha, 2007
  • Conducted workshops at San Rafael, California, USA and Maui, Hawaii for Odissi dancers of non-Indian origin, 2007.

My current professional interests go beyond the solo dance. I have keen interest in recreating the traditional Odissi repertoire in a group format. I am also involved in a number of projects of choreography for various performing art forms.

I take choreography assignments for plays, ballets, advertising films, feature films, television serials, puppet shows, theme-based choreographies for corporate houses, companies, award functions etc.



Jhelum 3
  • Kumar Gandharva Award 1999 - for innovative choreography in Odissi & also for propagating and popularising the Odissi form throughout Maharashtra.
  • Rotary Award 2001 – for vocational excellence.
  • Mahari Award 2005- Instituted by Guru Pankaj Charan Odissi Research Foundation, Bhubaneshwar,  this prestigious award is dedicated to the memory of Maharis, the spiritual dancers of Lord Jagannath Temple from where the Odissi Dance had its origin. This award is given to a professional solo Odissi dancer of national or international repute for outstanding contribution in the field of Odissi dance. For the last 10 years this award was given only to Odiya dancers. Guru Smt. Jhelum Paranjape is the first non Oriya dancer to have received this very prestigious award.
  • Sanjukta Panigrahi National Award 2005- for the popularisation of Odissi as a teacher and performer and for being an ambassador at large for the Odissi dance form.
  • Maharashtra Rajya Sanskritik Puraskar 2007- 2008 – The Maharashtra govt. Cultural award in the category of classical dance.
  • Vidya Vibhushan Award 2009 – for the sincere dedication as a teacher of this dance form.
  • Women Achiever’s Award 2008- 2009 : for sterling contribution to arts and culture, and for spreading this dance form amongst the under privileged strata of society.

  • Marathi stage productions "Ain Vasantat Ardhya Ratri", an adaptation of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", director Vijay Kenkre.
  • "Punha Shejari" (a marathi comedy), by Sai Paranjapye, director Ajit Kelkar
  • "Final Solutions" (an english play inspired by the 1992 Mumbai riots),  by Mahesh Dattani, director Alyque Padamsee.
  • "Jyacha Tyacha Vithoba" - a marathi play, interpreting saint Tukaram's Abhangs, director Chandrakant Kulkarni.

  • "Azadi Ki Jung", a dance ballet, which chronicles the history of 90 years of India's freedom struggle, from 1857 to 1947. This epoch making production of the Rashtra Seva Dal was staged in presence of the then Indian Prime Minister Mr. I.K Gujral on 9th August 1997 to mark the Golden Jubilee of India’s independence.
  • Dance ballet on Indian history "Punyatirtha Bharat", a Yuvak Biradari Production. This production has done over 100 shows all over India starting with the first show for the then Indian Prime Minister, Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao, on August 9th 1992 as a tribute to the Martyrs of the August Kranti Din of 1942.
Theme-Based Choreographies

  • NUSI - a ballet to commemorate the centenary celebration of the National Seamen's Union of India.

  • Agni”, a dance ballet as the inaugural piece on the occasion of Kalnirnay Sanman Sandhya (a Filmfare Awards type function for Marathi cinema & stage) on a huge space of a four level stage.

  • Dowry”, was performed for Sahyadri Channel’s “Navratna Awards”. This piece was choreographed to portray the oppression of women in India for dowry, and suggests how their empowerment can come about.

  • SBI – A special performance for the bi-centennary celebrations of State Bank of India. This showcased the bank’s growth over the years.

  • “Stree” - A production depicting a woman’s various roles :  mother, daughter, mother-in-law, friend, lover, wife, sister etc. Beginning with “Srishti” - ‘nature’ and ending with “Aai” – mother. Done for Doordarshan Kendra’s Sahyadri channel, on the occasion of the “Navjyoti  Puraskar”


  • Collaborated with senior Odissi dancers of Mumbai for the production of '’Ekakar'’ an innovative dance piece and “Janani Dharitri”, a ballet showing the six seasons and their effects on mother earth.
  • Collaborated with senior dancers of various styles from Mumbai for the Nehru Centre production, “Ashtanayika”
  • Collaborated with the Mumbai University Sanskrit Department and Bharat Natyam Dancer, Sandhya Purecha for the production of the ballet, “'Shivalilamrut” .
  • Collaborated with dancers of Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Lavani styles for the Nehru Centre Production "Indradhanush"
Ballets For Smitalay

  • "Leelavati" - a unique experiment depicting the mathematical genius of the legendary mathematician Bhaskaracharya in dance form. The first show received great acclaim from the participants of International Mathematics Olympiad held in India 1996.
  • "Jatayu Moksha" a dance ballet based on excerpts from Tulsi Ramayan describing Ram, Sita & Laxman's 'Vanvas', the abduction of Sita, and the valiant fight of Jatayu. .
  • "Uma”, based on a poem in marathi by late Vasant Bapat, inspired by Kalidasa’s Kumar Sambhava.
  • "Narmada”, the story of river Narmada and how, in its many moods and transitions it embodies all that is strong in a woman & the fight of the tribals against the construction of a dam across Narmada.
  • “Bollywood Hungama – Odissi Ishtyle “, a fast paced choreographic work, based on the odissi dance style set to old & new hindi film songs. This is the most popular of all our productions, following Leelavati. A complete entertainer, taking classical dance closer to the lay public.
  • “Jago India Jago” depicting corruption, atrocities on women, religious fanaticism and a way towards harmony.
  • “Azadi ek Paheli” briefly depicting struggle for freedom, attaining freedom and then questioning the meaning of freedom
  • “JalaSRI”, a production of KCES, jalgaon, depicting conservation of water and nature.
  • “Meghdoot”, a Nehru center (Mumbai) production,a dance ballet based on a marathi translation of Kalidasa’s epic “meghdoot’, celebrating “Maharashtra Din”.
  • Savitri Vadatey – Savitri speaks, based on poems & letters written by Savitribai Phule, a woman born in 1831 who goes on to become India’s first woman teacher.
  • Chitrapat ke Krishna Kanhaiya, a Binani musicals (Mumbai) production, depicting Krishna’s birth till the time he leaves vrindavan, based on old & new hindi film songs.
Associations with Other Productions

  • Crafted the key movements for the lead female role essayed by male actor Nirmal Pandey for grace and poise in Amol Palekar's much acclaimed film "Daayaraa".
  • "Baje Payal", a television serial by Asha Parekh.
  • "Rang Tarang", depicting Vasant Bapat's poems in dance.
  • Advertising Films for BAJAJ Electrical and Tata Tea.
  • Black Puppetry by Ramdas Padhye.
  • Choreographed the group dance and lead female actors song, for the award winning Marathi film “Saawali”
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Smitalay Students Dipali Tikam, Rupali Kadam and Apurva Dani awarded the 'Odissi Jyoti' title, at the Naveen Kalakar Festival, Bhubaneshwar.