Odissi – One of The Most Famous Classical Dance Forms of Odisha, India

Famous Odissi dance is the typical classical dance form of Odisha and has its origin in the temples. The rhythm, the bhangis and mudras used in Odissi dance have a distinctive quality of their own.

Odissi dance

Origin Of Odissi Dance:

The Odissi dance of Odisha is the traditional dance forms of India, which owns its origin to the temple dances of the “Devadasis”.  Like all other Indian classical dances, it also has its initiation in religion and philosophy with an origin in the temples of Odisha (Orissa). The rhythm, Bhangis and Mudras used in Odissi dance have a distinct style of its own. The dance is performed mainly with the theme of Infinite love of Lord Krishna and Radha, lord Jagannath.

Over the centuries three schools of Odissi dance developed: Mahari, Nartaki, and Gotipua.  The Mahari tradition is the devadasi tradition; this is the use of women who are attached to deities in the temple.  The Nartaki tradition is the school of Odissi dance which developed in the royal courts.  Gotipuais a style characterized by the use of young boys dressed up in female clothing to perform female roles.

Dance Style:

One of the most enhancing features of Odissi dance is the Tribhangi.  The concept of Tribhang divides the body into three parts, head, bust, and torso.  Any posture which deals with these three elements is called tribhangi.  This concept has created the very characteristic poses which are more contorted than found in other classical Indian dances.

The mudras are also important.  The term mudra means “stamp” and is a hand position which signifies things.  The use of mudras help tell a story in a manner similar to the hula of Hawaii.

Musical Instruments:

There are a number of musical instruments used to accompany the Odissi dance.  One of the most important is the pakhawaj, also known as themadal.  This is the same pakhawaj that is used elsewhere in the north except for a few small changes.  One difference is that the right head is a bit smaller than the usual north Indian pakhawaj.  This necessitates a technique which in many ways is more like that of the tabla, or mridangam.  Other instruments which are commonly used are the bansuri (bamboo flute), the manjira (metal cymbals), the sitar and the tanpura.

Famous Odissi Dancers:

Some of the renowned Odissi dancers are Guru Pankajcharan, Guru Kelucharna, Late Debprasad, late Sanjukta Panigrahi, Kumkum Mohanty, Indrani Rehema, Guru Nabakishore, Guru Gangadhar, Guru Ranbir, Guru Subrat Pattaniak and Illena.

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