At the age of (3) three Dona started learning dance from Amala Shankar, wife of world famous Dancer Uday Shankar. It was the turning point of her career when she shifted to Odissi under the guidance of Guru Giridhari Nayek. The most significant development took place when she came across her Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra. Under his guidance, she got opportunity to develop her skill which enabled to prove her talent in Odissi on a number of occasions in several programme held in India and abroad.
Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra thought Dona to be her ideal student and started coming to Kolkata to teach her dance. He stayed in her house and taught her with greet care and affection that comes out in her performances.
She too traveled to her guru’s home and took regular lessons during summer, winter and puja vacations while she was a student in school. During this period Dona attended several programmes where her guru accompanied her in Pakwaj.
Her performance at the India International Centre in Delhi before a distinguished gathering in 1992 was greeted with splendid reviews in Delhi Press. The “Hindu” states, “The young Odissi dancer being groomed under Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra in the sculpturesque anga suddhi of her dance brings to mind Sanjukta Panigrahi dancing at tender age”. Thus Dona continued teaching and learning till she got married to the most successful Indian Cricket Captain Mr. Saurav Ganguly and was known as Mrs Dona Ganguly. But she did not stop her training and kept in touch with her guruji till he died in 2004. Though it was a great shock for her, Dona continued practicing the items learned from her guruji and is teaching the same to her students. She is one of the few Odissi exponents who maintains pure guru Kelucharan Mahapatra gharana. Along with her performance she also teaches dance at her school Diksha manjari. She is the head of the Odissi department of Bharati Vidya Bhavan as well as Tecno India Schools. She is ‘A’ graded artist of Doordarshan.
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