Priyambada Mohanty Hejmadi is the pioneer Odissi dancer, whose performance in the First Inter-University Youth Festival at Talkatora Gardens, New Delhi in 1954, led to the discovery of Odissi dance and drew national attention to this art form. She is the first person to give a full evening Odissi dance performance at Sapru House, New Delhi in 1961 to establish Odissi as a self-sufficient and classical dance form.
Trained by all the leading gurus, namely Late Singhari Shyama Sunder Kar, Late Pankaj Charan Das, Late Kelucharan Mahapatra, and Late Debaprasad Das, she has played a significant role in the revival and popularization of Odissi both in India and abroad.
For her contributions in the field, she has received two highest awards from the State, namely Kabisamrat Upendra Bhanja Samman, Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi and Governor’s Plaque for lifetime achievement in the field of Odissi Dance. Recipient of the titles Nrutya Vidushi, Nrutya Saraswati and Nrutya Bharati, she continues to be a leading figure in the present cultural scene. As an authority on Odissi dance, she has contributed many articles and has given many lecture demonstrations in India and abroad. Her books on Odissi Dance are used by dancers and scholars alike.
A zoologist by profession, an exceptional achiever, the first lady Vice-Chancellor of Orissa; she has received prestigious National Awards in both Science (Padma Shri) and Culture (Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award). She writes on a broad range of subjects