Odissi originated in the northeastern state of Orissa. It is recognized as one of the eight dance forms of Indian classical dance forms. This dance form was predominantly performed by women and expressed religious stories and spiritual ideas, particularly Vaishnavism. The theoretical institutions of Odissi traced to the ancient Sanskrit text, Natya Sastra its existence in Antiquity evîdence by the. Dance poses in the sculpture of Odissi Hindu temples.
It also belongs to drama – the dance genre of performance art, where artists and musicians play out a story with a spiritual message from Hindu texts using symbolic costumes, body movements, expressions and gestures, and sign language.
Odissi is characterized by tribhangi, a concept that divides the human body into 3 parts ie head, bust torso, and postures that deal with these 3 elements. Depiction of the eternal love of Radha- Krishna from his epic poem Gita Govindam is fundamental to abhinaya in Odissi dance.
Since the 1940s, Odissi has grown into a distinguished art form performed throughout the world. In recent years, dance festivals organized at Bhubaneswar, Puri, and Konark have exposed Odissi to a wider audience.
The female dancers wear a locally made silk sari with traditional and local designs such as Bomkai and Sambalpuri saree. Silver jewelry adorns her head, neck, ear arms, and wrists. Whereas male dancers wear a dhoti neatly pleated in the front and tucked between legs that cover their lower body from the waist while the upper body remains bare. A belt adorns his waist.
The unique feature of this dance form is that it integrates Indian ragas, both from the south and north indicating an exchange of concepts and performance arts between the two parts of India. ‘Shokabaradi’, ‘Karnata’, ‘Bhairavee’, ‘Dhanashri’, ‘Panchama’, ‘Shree Gowda’, ‘Nata’, ‘Baradi’, and ‘Kalyana’ are the main ragas of Odissi. The musical types of equipment include tabla, pakhawaj, harmonium, cymbals, violin, flute, sitar, and Swarmandal.
Sonal Mansingh is a renowned Odissi dancer who became famous worldwide with her performances. Let’s know the history and significance of this traditional dance form of India. The famous exponents of Odissi dancers include. Panigrahi, Sonal Mansingh and Kumkum Mohanty; Aruna Mohanty, Anita Babu and Aadya Kaktikar to mention a few.