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Famous India > Dances > Odissi
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Odissi Dance

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The Dance

The Classical Dance of Orissa - Odisi, has its origin in its Temples. Odissi evokes the name of the Lord Jagganath - the Lord of Universe.
Oddisi Dance is said be the oldest dance forms of India, as per the archeological evidence. The Odisi dance forms have been found in Udayagiri, Rani Gumpa Caves of the second century BC. These caves are supposed to be earlier then the writingd of Bharats Natyashastra, in which there is mention of Odisi Dance.

The Odissi dance is performed by the Clan called the Maharis and the Gotipuas.. Maharis are the Devdasis (Servants of God) of Orissa. In the past there were two clans of Maharis - the bhitari gauni Maharis, who would reach the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and bahari gauni Maharis who would be in the temples but outside the sanctum sanctorum.Maharis are supposed to dance for the ceremonies and festivals connected with Lord Jagganath. But once the Gotipuras were taught to dance they stepped out of the temple premises. Gotipura in Oryan means a single boy. The Gotipuas came into emergence as the Vaishnavites ( devotess of lord Vishnu) did not like the dance by girls. So the Gotipuas - the boys were projected more than the Maharis.However Vaishnavites contributed a lot to the music, song and dance composition of Odisi. Bandha Nrutya is one of most interesting dance of Gotipuras which involves gotipuas
and a few girls joining in the dance.

Facets Of Odissi :
Odissi Dancer
Mahari Dance
The dancing girls were known as Devdasis. in Mahari dancers Nachunis were the female dancers.Then there are Bhitara-gauni who are the female singers of the inner appartments). The Mahari Dance strictly follows the Shastras and the dances are married to the God at the tiny age of nine years. The Rajguru is always there at the beginning of the dance as the representative of the King. The dancers on the other hand are not to look at the audience at the time of performance.

Odissi Dancer Costume
Costume of Odissi Dancers
A long skirt known as Ghagra , blouse - thecholi and a veil are the basics of a Lady Odissi Costume. The Jewellery includes Bangles, Earrings, Hair and Finger ornaments (e.g. Jhumar, Tika, Panja) and Belt Bells - 50 or 100 bells for each foot Hair accessories - Tassel (Parandi), hair attachment and Bindi. For men it is a Dhoti Kurta, or Kameez Chudi dar Vest.


Odissi Dancers T
The Dance Form of Odissi

Tribhangi and Chaukhaare are the two main dance forms of Odissi. Tribhangi (literally: three parts break) is name given to a three body bend. It is very feminine in narture and relates to postures of Hindu Diety Lord Krishna. On the other hand Chaukha is comparable to araimandalam of Bharatnatyam. It more of a masculine aspect derived from Lord Jagganaths idol in Puri.

Guru Padma Vibushan Kelucharan Mohapatra, Guru Pankaj Charan Das, Smt. Sanjukta Panigrahi are some of the prominent dancers of Odissi. Guru Surendranath Jena propogated a different style of Odissi.


Dance Forms in Odissi
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