Early Life of Devraj Patnaik
Patnaik was born on October 28, 1975 in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. He is the son of Chitralekha Patnaik. He has a sister named Ellora Patnaik who was born in Odisha, India. His family emigrated to Canada in the 1960s. During his younger days, he made several trips to India with his family.
Education of Devraj Patnaik
Patnaik attended Tom Thompson and the Rolling Meadows elementary schools and M. M. Robinson High School in Burlington, Ontario. In the year 1994, he received a scholarship from the Shastri-Indo Canadian Institute at the University of Calgary to study music in India for one year. During that tenure, he studied percussion from Badya Samrat Sri Umesh Chandra Kar (tabla) and pakhawaj under Guru Sri Banamali Maharana.
In the beginning, he received dance lessons from his mother and sister. They trained him as an Odissi dancer from a very young age. In his younger days, he also received training from notables like Guru Sri Gangadhar Pradhan, Padmabibhusan Kelucharan Mohapatra, and Padmashri Pankaj Charan Das.
In terms of music, he took lessons on the tabla in 1983 under a local percussion teacher. For the next ten years, he went on to receive training from well-known musicians like Sri Banamali Maharana and Guru Sri Gangadhar Pradhan on the pakhawaj, and Badya Samrat Sri Umesh Chandra Kar on the tabla. His initial training in Ragas went under the guidance of Sitarist Sri Jyotindra Prasad Mishra and musical genius K. Rama Rao Patra. Much of his knowledge of Indian Classical music is self-learned.
Career of Devraj Patnaik
He spends most of his time by spreading knowledge on music and dance to his students. He is teaching tabla and Odissi dance since the early 1990s. In the year 1993, he took over as Managing Director of the Chitralekha Dance Academy. Presently, he also gives lessons on vocal, harmonium and the Odissi mardal drum, or pakhawaj.
Chitralekha Odissi Dance Creations Incorporated
Patnaik co-founded Chitralekha Odissi Dance Creations in 1994 with his mother and sister. Presently, it is known as Chitralekha Odissi Dance Creations Incorporated or CODC Inc.
In the year 1995, they inaugurated the presentation of major Odissi works on a hitherto unprecedented scale in North America, with Glaanisanghaar, or 'the destruction of evil', a dance drama. The drama threw light on the ten incarnations of Vishnu in accordance with the Gita Govinda or the twelfth century poet Jayadeva.
From then onwards, he went on to appear in major production of Odissi dance each year and participate in numerous local and international dance festivals. He also starred in several collaboratie works and plays, remarkably in the Rasik Arts' production of Girish Karnad's Naga Mandala.
Since 2001, Chitralekha Odissi Dance Creations Incorporated started presenting Devraj's original dance choreography and music composition such as Panchadeva (2001), Jai Sri Rama (2006) etc.