Odisha Dance Name
Odissi or Odishee is a famous ancient Indian Classical Dance form. This dance was originated in the Hindu temples of an eastern state of India named Odisha. In the beginning, Odissi was performed by women. In this dance form, beautiful religious stories and spiritual ideas are played particularly related to Vaishnavism (a manifestation of Lord Vishnu as Jagannath).
Odishee exhibitions have too communicated thoughts of other conventions such as Hindu divine like Shiva and Surya, as well as Hindu goddesses. The hypothetical establishment of Odishee is based on the Sanskrit content Natya Shastra. Its presence is proved by the dance postures within the figures of Odishee Hindu temples, and archeological locales related to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It was concealed by the colonial rulers. Later, this concealment was challenged by the Indians and taken after by its restoration, reproduction, and development since India got freedom from the Britishers.
Traditional Repertoire of Odissi
In the classical and medieval period, Odissi has been a group dance that originated from Hindu writings. This drama-dance included ladies (Maharis) who enact spiritual poems or a religious story within the inner sanctum of a temple, or within the Natamandira connected to the temple. These Maharis perform the pure dance along with different expressions to convey a meaning, show grace, or communicate the content through their abhinaya (signals). In another form of dance, the groups of boys dressed as young ladies (Gotipuas) extended the Odissi collection, by introducing gymnastics and athletic moves in their dance. These performances are given in temples as well as open grounds for entertainment. At a young age, many of these gotipuas become the Gurus (instructors).
The modern form of dance is expanded performance art. The involvement of men and its rebirth since the 1950s have played a huge role in introducing the modern plays and moves of other Indian dances in Odissi. Love is a widespread topic in the dance which is expressed via romantic poems and metaphors. There is no shame for physical intimacy in Odissi and it is a part of celebration and worship.
As similar to the other Indian classical dances, Odissi also includes Nritta, Nritya, and Natya. Other than these three, Mokshya is also a repertoire of Odissi. These aspects are described and illustrated in various Hindu texts. They include Abhinaya Darpan, Natya Shastra, and the Abhinaya Chandrika of the 16th century which was written by Maheshwar Mahapatra. This dance form can be complemented with both Hindustani and Carnatic dance forms. But the music of the dance is mainly in Odia and Sanskrit language.
- Nritta: This is an abstract, fast, and rhythmic aspect of the Orissi dance. The main point of attraction in Nritta is its motion, form, pattern, speed, and range. A beautiful and pure movement is presented by the performer in the Nritta which is filled with perfection. In this repertoire, the viewers don't get any story or interpretative aspect. In this technical performance, the dancers target the senses (prakriti) of the audience only by the simple but unbelievable dance form. The Nritta is performed by a solo dancer.
- Nritya: It is a slower and expressive repertoire of Orissi dance. The Nritya is also called the Dance of Emotions. In this form, the main aim of the performer is to communicate with the audience and telling stories through dance which are mostly related to spiritual themes. These themes are based on the Hindu religion and its traditions. In the Nritya, the performer uses the sign language of gesture and body motion to connect with the viewers. These silent expressions are enough to tell the complete act without the use of a single word. The dancers catch each note and tone to make the act super fine. The main aim of the Nritya is to engage the emotions and minds of the public so that they can relate to the performance and understand its serenity. Mostly, it is performed by a single dancer.
- Natyam: This is a dramatic dance form in which the performers indicate the arrival of a new character in the act or the running story by presenting various standardized body movements. This typical repertoire is mostly performed in a group but a solo performer can also act. The Natya or Natyam is incorporated with the elements of the Nritya.
- Mokshya: As per the Hindi literature, the word Mokshya or Moksha means Mukti or freedom from the world and its problems. In some other words of Indian philosophy and religion, the Moksha refers to the liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth. This is a climatic pure dance of Odissi. As clear from its meaning, this repertoire is based on the high spiritual value of liberation of soul and serenity.
The Dance Sequence
- Conventional Odissi collection arrangement begins with an invocation called Mangalacharana. A shloka (song) is sung which is dedicated to a God or Goddess, especially Lord Jagannath. The meaning of this shloka is presented via dance.
- After this sequence, Pushpanjali (advertising of blooms) and Bhumi Pranam (greeting to mother soil) are done.
- The invocation also incorporates Trikhandi Pranam or the three-fold greeting given to the Devas (Gods), the Gurus (instructors), and the Lokas or Rasikas (individual artists and general public).
- The next successive step is Batu, Battu Nrutya, Sthayee Nrutya, or Batuka Bhairava. This fast-paced dance is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This dance is presented only with the rhythmic music workout of any song.
- The nritya is the next sequence in which Abhinaya or an expressional dance based on the lyrics of the song is presented. The sign language is used by different mudras (hand movements), bhavas(moods, feelings), eye and body movement, to express the meaning of the song. The move is sensuous, elegant, and graceful.
- These Abhinayas are mostly taken from Oriya tunes or Sanskrit Ashthapadis like Dasavatar Stotram or Ardhanari Stotram. The subject of Radha-Krishna is very common.
- The next sequence is the natya portion or dance dramatization. The theme of these dreams is majorly based on Hindu mythologies and epics.
- The final sequence is Moksha (or Mokshya) which is a distinctive part of the performance. As part of the Hindu conventions, Moksha implies "spiritual freedom". This sequence conveys a sense of spiritual discharge and soul freedom. Development and posture combine in a quick pace pure dance climax.
Basic Moves of the Dance
The most common units of this dance style are known as bhangas which are made up of a total of 8 belis, or body movements and positions with different verities. The motion in the dance is uthas (rising), baithas (sitting), or sthankas (standing). The movement is known as chaalis which represents different emotions. For example, a quick pace depicts the excitement while a slow pace depicts dejection. Other than this, the movement of the foot or pada bhedas also plays an important role in Odissi dance with six basic dance units.
Three main dance positions in Odissi are as under:
- Samabhanga: It is the square position in which the weight is equally divided between the two legs with a straight spine and arms raised with bent elbows.
- Abhanga: In this position, the bodyweight does not place equally but shifts from side to side due to deep leg bends. Feet and knees are bent outwards and one hip is extending aside.
- Tribhanga: In this form, the S-shaped is made. It is the three-fold bending of the body. In this move torso and the head & hips are deflecting in opposite directions.
Mudras of the Dance
To express the meaning of an act various Mudras or Hasatas (hand gestures) are used. The main aim of this dance form is similar to other Indian dances, i.e., convey the emotions, mood, and inner feelings of the story with the help of proper hand gestures and facial expressions. The modern Odissi dance has 63 Hastas. This system is based on the Nandikeshavara's Abhinaya Darpana and Bharat Muni's Natya Shastra.
These mudras are further sub-divided into the following:
- Asamyukta Hasta: The single hand Mudras with 28 Prakar.
- Samyukta Hasta: The double hand Mudras with 24 Prakar.
- Nrutya Hasta: The Pure Dance Mudras.
Costumes: The Main Attraction of Odissi
- The costumes are highly attractive and colorful with the high ornamentation and jewelry in Odissi dance.
- The saari that is worn by the female dancers is usually made up of local silk. The saari has pleats that help the performers to get maximum flexibility during the dance.
- On these Saaris (especially on Sambalpuri Saari and Bomkai Saari), there is a print of traditional designs of Odisha along with the regional patterns.
- The ornaments or jewellery are made up of silver pieces. They include ear covers (called Kapa), necklace, headpiece (called Allaka), Tikka, a pair of armlets called Bahichudi or Bajuband), bangles (called Kankana), a belt on the waist, a leather piece with bells (ghunghroo) in the ankles, etc.
- The dancers dye their palms and soles with red color called Alta.
- Other than this, these dancers make up their eyes with Kajal (black eyeliner), peacock feathers in Mukoot (crown) to show the love for Lord Krishna, an elaborate bun of hair decorated with Seenthi, etc.
- Among the male dancers, dhoti is the most famous costume. It is broadcloth that is tied around the waist, having pleats for easy movement, and is tucked between legs. It usually covers the knees or extends to the lower portion.
- The upper body of the male dancers remains bare but a thin translucent sheet is wrapped over the shoulder.
Music and Instruments
- The Odissi dance style is complemented with the traditional classical music called Odissi, Music of Odisha.
- The music incorporates nine essential Ragas named Kalyana, Nata, Shree Gowda, Baradi, Panchama, Dhanashri, Karnata, Bhairavee, and Shokabaradi.
- Ragini Devi may be a shape of visualized music within the Orissi move. In this shape, the essential and auxiliary music modes are Ragas and Raginis
- With the help of Parija, the sentiments of a song are expressed with every changing note and mood.
- These performances are done by Nartana and Natangi on various festivals and folksy celebrations of life.
- There are various regional musical instruments used in the performance such as harmonium, violin, flute, Mardala (barrel drum), sitar, cymbals, etc.
Styles of Odissi
There are three schools or styles of the Odissi which include:
- Maharis: The word Maharis is originated from Maha (great) and Nari (girl) or Mahri (chosen). These were the Oriya devadasis or the temple girls particularly those who served at the temple of Jagganath at Puri. To show respect and love for the Hindu Gods and Goddesses, Puranic mythologies, and Vedic legends, these Maharis were performed Abhinaya and Nritta during the early period of the style. Later, they also started to dance to the lyrics of Gita Govinda. This dance style is connected with the senses of the classical Sanskrit texts related to music, dance, and performance arts.
- Nartaki: This dance form was highly popular among the Royal Courts before the arrival of the British era in the country.
- Gotipua: In this dance style, the young boys or Gotipuas are dressed up as girls and learn the dance from Maharis. Gotipua fashion incorporates military expressions, trapeze artistry, and games. It is performed exterior the sanctuaries and carnival as folksy excitement.
Maestros and Performers of Odissi
- The main credit of reviving the Odissi dance and transferring it to the future generation in the late forties and fifties goes to Kelucharan Mohapatra, Pankaj Charan Das, Raghunath Dutta, Gangadhar Pradhan, and Deba Prasad Das.
- Further, some disciples of Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra spread the dance throughout India and abroad.
- After the contemporary revival of the dance, the first performance was given by Laximipriya Mohapatra in 1948 in Annapurna Theatre in Cuttack.
- Guru Mayadhar Raut played an important role in setting a classical status of the dance. His contributions include Mudra Vinyoga and Sancharibhava, and also depicted Shringara Rasa in Gita Govinda. Some of his most famous compositions are Pashyati Dishi and Priya Charu Shile of 1961.
- The research on some of the lesser-known aspects of Odissi was done by Parwati Dutta who was an Odissi and Kathak exponent and researcher. She also introduced Odissi dance form in Marathwada region of Maharashtra. She spread Odissi through Mahagami Gurukul to learners and aspirants.
- The credit of converting the Odissi dance into a contemporary shape from the traditional format goes to Kasturi Pattanaik. She has a deep impact on the new artistic creations, concepts, themes, and techniques of the dance. She integrated the pure form of Odissi music in her choreography which improved the classicality of Odissi dance in this new format.
Some Other Dance Forms of Odisha
- Chhau Dance: This ancient form of dance was originated in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. The dance was originated during the mock fights of Odia warriors locally known as paikas. In this dance, the entertainers battled musically on the beats of the innate melodic rebellious. Chhau dance is performed at the time of the Chaita Parva and is made up of four stages of life. The thing which makes this dance form most unique is the mask wear during the performance to convey the emotions and nature of the character.
- Gotipua Dance: This traditional dance form has rich cultural importance in Odisha. The parent dance form of Gotipua dance is the most famous, classical dance, Odissi. The dance is mainly performed by young boys, who are between the ages group of 6 to 14. These boys are dressed as girls and dance with a high degree of sophistication and beauty just like the other girls. Some believe that the Gotipua Dance is relevant to Odissi style but there is a difference between the technique, costumes, and presentation of the dance.
- Ghumura Dance: This dance form is highly popular in western Odisha. This conventional people move was initially begun in the Kalahandi area of the state. The move is performed by the male artists who wear innate outfits. According to some people, Ghumura dance was traditionally used to provoke the warriors. Even after its foremost beauty, the dance is still spread to the village level of South-Western parts of Odisha and in some other areas. The main credit for popularizing and maintaining the distinctiveness of this dance form goes to the people of the Kalahandi region.
- Ranapa Dance: As per the literature, the meaning of the word Ranapa means a stilt. As clear from its name, the dance is performed on the stilts with utmost ease. The dance is highly popular and common among the cowherd communities of the Ganjam district of the state. This dance is mainly performed by the young boys on the occasion of Giri Govardhan Pooja and Dola Yatra. During the performance, these dancers sing songs that represent the childhood days of Lord Krishna. They also wear anklets to produce a jingling sound. Ranapa dance is the perfect combo of acrobatic feats and certain martial arts skills.
- Jodi Sankha Dance: This dance form is a unique and splendiferous presentation of rural music. It is also known as Double Conch. In the performance, the artists wear highly colorful and bright dresses. The dance style is known for blowing the conch by displaying harmony between the inflections of the conch. This folk dance is also highly popular in Ganjam A melody in a rhythmic form is created by the artists with the help of various musical instruments such as Badya, Sankha, Mahuri, and Changu-baja.
- Chaiti Ghoda Dance: This folk dance is rampant among the fishermen community of Odisha. It is also known as Dummy Horse Dance. Other than the musical accompaniers, a male and female character played the dance in a team. This dance form is originated from the Shakti cult of the coastal region. The male character is called Rauta while the female character and the wife of Rauta are called Rautani. Most portion of the mythology is conveyed by Rauta who is the prime artist and commentator of the execution whereas Rautani plays the part of co-singer and artist. Chaiti Ghoda Dance is like an act in which off and cuffs dialogues and hilarious episodes are presented.
- Sambalpuri Folk Dance: This is a typical dance form of the western region of the state. The most important and attractive thing about this dance form is that it can create a perennial effect in the minds of the viewers. This beautiful style is a perfect mixture of rural and tribal cultures which can easily be seen in the songs and costumes of the dance. Sambalpuri Folk Dance is mainly performed by young girls who belong to the different tribes and communities of Odisha. The male artists play the role of drummers and musicians during the performance. To create a beautiful rhythm, these artists use Dhol, Mahuri, and many other musical instruments.
- Bagha Nacha: Typically other people move the shape of Odisha which is broadly prevalent and delighted in by the open. As clear from its title, the dance is performed by the male artists after portray their bare bodies with yellow and dark stripes to induce a see of a tiger. They also attach a tail at their back to complete the look. That's why this dance form is also known as Tiger Dance. Bagha Nach is performed at many festivals and occasions.
- Paika Nrutya: The word Paika is inferred from the Odia dialect which suggests a warrior. Typically war dance of the Khurda locale of Odisha. In this dance form, the artists wear colorful dhotis and turbans to get a look of a soldier. They also hold a sword and shield in their hand with which they enter the stage in quick order. The dance is performed by two groups. One of them is responsible for attacking and the other is for defending. The dance is performed by the male members only. The Paika Nrutya is also played in Jharkhand.