Initiated into dance at an early age by Guru Srinath Rout & Guru Govind Charan Pal, Aruna was further tendered carefully and nurtured in her dance by eminent Guru Shri Gangadhar Pradhan. Aruna has also had the privilege of working with Guru PankajCharan Das, Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra, Smt. Sanjukta Panigrahi and Smt. Sonal Mansingh. Her devotion, perseverance and commitment have placed her as the finest among the Odissi dancers in the country. Moulded by the sculptured manifestations of this form of dance, her grooming has culminated in graceful movements, beautiful postures, captivating expression and scintillating style which creates a visual phenomenon.
She combines extensive research, lessons from her Guru, and innovative thinking to produce scintillating choreography. Some of the compositions in her repertoire include the dance ballet ‘Shrusti O Pralay’, ‘Sravana Kumar’, ‘Kharavela’ , ‘Jatra Baramasi’, ‘Gatha Odishi’, ‘Swargadapi Gariyasi’, ‘Pratinayak’, ‘Krishna Shranam’, Astapadis from Geeta Govinda and ‘Siddhartha;, based on the novel by Hermann Hesse. Her production, ‘Shrusti O Pralay ‘, depicting the super cyclone that hit Odisha coast in 1999, has been widely acclaimed. Sapta varna, her choreography involving seven Indian classical dance forms and presented on the back drop of Khandagiri caves near Bhubaneswar, was highly appreciated. Her latest composition, ‘Bhaba Sangam”, Amazing Odisha, presenting the intricacies of the cultural fabric of the state, was staged at Kennedy Centre, Washington DC, USA in July 2015.
She has travelled all over the globe to present solo and group presentations in addition to workshops and lecture demonstrations. She has performed in the prestigious Kennedy Centre, USA and worked as a visiting faculty in the University of California, San Diego. Aruna, the dancer and choreographer led the Odissi group in the Charishnu Project, performing in China, Canada, Mauritius,Cambodia and Belgium .
Orissa Dance Academy (ODA) led by Aruna Mohanty received rave reviews in a tour of USA in 2005. She also performed with her troupe in 7 European countries on an ICCR sponsoredtour. She has participated in the International Odissi Festival organised in Malaysia in 2008. ODA was the only group selected by Govt. of India to perform in the Festival of India in Germany, in the year2012 during the inaugural show. In the International Dance Festival in Bangkok, ODA represented India where 14 other countries like UK, USA and Japan also participated. ODA’s three months tour of 26 cities of USA in 2013 received unprecedented reviews from media, including New York Times. The artistes of ODA under her leadership had also performed in the Europalia Art Festival, Brussels in 2013.
Aruna received rave reviews for her role in the National Award winning Film “Sri Krishna Rasa Leela”, the first full length musical ballet based movie on Odissi dance.
Recipient of the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for the year -2010 and State Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for the year 2014. The Govt. Of India has declared to confer Padmashree the highest civilian award to her for the year 2016-17. Aruna was also awarded fellowship by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Govt. of India & received award for contribution in the field of Odissi Dance from Utkal University, Odisha. She has also been conferred with the prestigious MAHARI AWARD 1997 by Guru Pankaj Charan Research Foundation, Bhubaneswar and Sanjukta Panigrahi Memorial National Award’–2001. Four out the seven recipients of Bismillah Khan Award for young and upcoming dancers, are students from Odisha Dance Academy.