Early Life of Sanjukta Panigrahi
Sanjukta Panigrahi was born in Berhampur, Ganjam District, in the state of Orissa. She was born to an orthodox Brahmin family of Abhiram Mishra and Shakuntala Mishra. Sanjukta, right from her childhood days was into dancing. Her mother came from a family that patronized Chhau Dance for a long time.
She started her initial dance trainings under Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra at age 4. Right from a very young age she was an enthusiastic dancer. As she grew up she started to train under the guidance of Rukmini Devi Arundale. She eventually graduated with 'Nrityapraveen' diploma in Bharatnatyam with Kathakali as the second subject. Thereafter she toured many places both in India and aboard.
Career of Sanjukta Panigrahi
Initially Sanjukta had to face tough times, but things changed for the better when Kelucharan Mahapatra, her guru, was conferred with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, and she presented an Odissi dance performance during the award ceremony Delhi. The audiences were thrilled by her performance.
She and her husband jointly received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1976.
Sanjukta Panigrahi taught courses in sports and demonstrated details of Odissi dance to foreign students, further adding to its global popularity. She spent some of her valuable years at the International School of Theatre Anthropology at Bologna, Italy in 1986, 1990 and 1992.
She performed Odissi dance based on classic concepts like Jayadeva's Gita Govinda, Chaupais from the Ramacharitamanasa of Tulasidas and the songs of Vidyapati and Rabindranath Tagore.
Personal Life of Sanjukta Panigrahi
She married Raghunath Panigrahi, ten years her senior, at Kalakshetra, Chennai. The couple had two sons.
Death of Sanjukta Panigrahi
Sanjukta Panigrahi died on 24th June 1997.
Legacy of Sanjukta Panigrahi
Sanjukta left behind a rich legacy. Her accomplished students include Dr. Chitra Krishnamurti, director of Nrityalaya (an Odissi school in Potomac) and Joyoti Das. Sanjukta Panigrahi is considered an embodiment of Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra's art.
Sanjukta Panigrahi Awards
In order to promote Odissi dance Raghunath Panigrahi, husband of Sanjukta Panigrahi, after his wife's death formed a trust by the name "'Sanjukta Panigrahi Memorial Trust" in the year 1999.