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Indian Classical Dance / Klassischer Indischer Tanz / Danse classique de l'Inde > Odissi


Kelucharan Mohapatra

Sonal Mansingh

A dance form born in Orissa, manifested in temple sculptures from 2nd Century BC, practised and enriched by the Devadasis or maharis (as the temple dancing girls are called in Orissa). With the construction of the Jagannath temple in Puri in the 12th century , the practice of dedicating maharis in the service of the temple was initiated; it continues to this day.

At once sensuous and spiritual, it has the ability to portray erotic sentiments in a deeply reverential manner. Odissi is a highly stylised dance with tribhanga or three-bend attitude of Hindu sculpture. The bhava or feeling is chaste and orthodox, with flashes of heightened dramatisation.

The accompanying music is pure and classical, with graces of both the Hindustani and the Carnatic systems.

The instruments traditionally used are the mandala-drums, gini-small cymbals and the flute.

Odissi has been restored to its rightful place only in the last few decades with tireless work by the Gurus like Pankaj Charan and Deba Prasad Das, Kelucharan Mohapatra and Mayadhar Raut; and the dancers.

Source: Indian Classical Dance & Music, Department of Tourism, Government of India, 1996
Published on motionsound.com by kind permission of the Department of Tourism, Government of India