The inspiring story of the famous male Odissi and Sambalpuri Dancer Rinku Sahoo shadowing stereotypes

Rinku Kumar Sahoo is a dancer of Odissi and Sambalpuri, dance forms that originated in Odisha, India. Apart from being a dancer, he is also a choreographer and a dance teacher.

Men who selected classical dancing as a vocation were considered a disgrace in some segments of society in a society that is still extremely heteronormative. Classical dances are frequently misunderstood as forms with only delicate motions that can only be justified by the female gender. Such is the story of famed Odissi dancer Rinku Sahoo, who defied prejudices with his devotion to the art, demonstrating time and time again that art transcends gender identities and that men classical dancers can be as beautiful and elegant as women.

Rinku was first attracted to dance by his mother, but it was Odissi maestro Padma Bibhusan Guru Sri Kelucharan Mohapatra who inspired him to pursue it professionally. He did not stop there, earning a master’s degree and an M.Phil in Odissi dance from the Bhubaneswar’s Utkal University of Culture, as well as undertaking research on the Sambalpuri dance form. Rinku has encountered several challenges during his life and had no one at his side. He has gone through many difficulties. To achieve a level and a pinnacle of achievement, he focused on hard work and effort. He had never seen his life as a hardship, but rather as an opportunity to appreciate every minute.

He says “There was a time in my life when I felt strangled in familiar places. I was broken, but I had no choice but to give up. After all these years, I’ve come to realise that giving up is not an option, and that just as problems arise, there are always answers to be focused on. Focus on your goal and keep working until you achieve it.”

Rinku founded Abhay Art Academy inspired by his father’s saying ‘’a platform is very crucial for an artist to display their talent”. He founded the academy with the mission of providing a platform to tribal and poor artists, where he teaches dance to marginalized artists free of cost. He even organizes different festivals every year like ‘MERU’ festival and International Sambalpuri Dance festival to provide stages to young talent.

Claim to Fame – Rinku Kumar Sahoo

He is a national senior scholarship holder from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India in the Odissi dance field in 2016.

Rinku has performed all over India in different national festivals. He had represented Odisha at Rajpath during the Republic Day celebration. He had also performed at Rashtrapati Bhawan in front of the President of India, Prime Minister, and the Vice President of India and was appreciated by all.

During the lockdown in Pandemic, Rinku started teaching and dance training on YouTube where the artists from all over India and abroad were encouraged and connected with him forever. In this way he is promoting Indian art and culture in different parts of the world. Rinku Sahoo, a renowned dancer and one of the best, holds his own, commanding the respect of the dance community in Odisha like no other. Rinku comes up with innovative approaches for every situation. He prioritizes dancing and encourages aspiring dancers to shine on.

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