Oopali Operajita: Bridging the Worlds of Dance and Literature

Oopali Operajita: A Visionary Dancer and Scholar

In the realm of classical dance, Oopali Operajita stands as a beacon of artistry and innovation. Born into a distinguished family in Orissa, India, her journey unfolds as a narrative of excellence in dance, education, and advocacy for sustainable technologies.

Early Years and Education of Oopali Operajita

Oopali Operajita’s artistic odyssey began at the age of six when she embarked on the path of Bharatanatyam under the tutelage of S. Meenakshi and Veena G Visalakshi at Rishi Valley School. Her arangetram, or professional debut, occurred at the tender age of eleven, setting the stage for a career marked by distinction.

Oopali’s formative years at Rishi Valley also saw her delve into Odissi under the guidance of Debaprasad Das and later, the legendary Kelucharan Mohapatra, who became her mentor for twelve continuous years.

A Dance Prodigy and Global Performer

Acknowledged as “the best Odissi interpreter today” by India’s esteemed dance critic P V Subramanian, Oopali Operajita has graced stages worldwide. Trained under the luminaries Kelucharan Mohapatra and Deba Prasad Das, her performances have resonated globally.

The New York Times has lauded her as one of Mohapatra’s “star pupils,” and she holds the distinction of being the first classical Indian artist to perform at the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh.

A Literary Pursuit

Beyond dance, Oopali Operajita, along with her parents, undertook the translation of Gopinath Mohanty’s Amrutara Santāna into English. Published in 2015 as “Amrutara Santāna: The Dynasty of The Immortals,” this literary endeavor showcases her multifaceted talents.

Academic Prowess and International Recognition

Oopali Operajita’s academic journey is equally illustrious. A Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University since 1990, she earned an MA in English from Delhi University and pursued further studies as a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Fellow at Canada’s Dalhousie University. Her MAPW degree from Carnegie Mellon University reflects her commitment to writing, communication planning, and design.

Advocate for Sustainable Technologies

Oopali Operajita’s impact extends beyond the realms of art and academia. In 2007, she founded the Al Gore Sustainable Technology Venture Competition, a pioneering initiative promoting clean and sustainable technologies.

This movement, now encompassing around 60,000 students globally, is a testament to her commitment to fostering entrepreneurship for a more sustainable planet.

Visionary Leadership

Beyond her artistic and academic pursuits, Oopali Operajita serves as a senior public policy and international affairs advisor, contributing her expertise to India’s parliament. Her advisory roles with leaders like the late Honourable Rangarajan Kumaramangalam and the Honourable Kapil Sibal underscore her influence in shaping policy and governance.

Also Read: Gitanjali Gutierrez: A Human Rights Pioneer

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