Odissi Dance of Orissa
The sculptures in Brahmeswara temples
and in Konark Sun temple dancing hall depicts the art of traditional
dances of Orissa. Odissi dance - the traditional dance form of Orissa
owes its birth to the temple dance performed by the devadasis. In mid
of 20th century the entire Odissi dance form was revived with the
support of the Abhinaya Chandrika and was given a new look. Orissa
also enjoys a rich tradition of tribal and folk dances as well. Chhau
is a martial dance form derived from of Orissa's age-old tradition.
Danda Nata dance performed for a longer duration has acrobatic
sequences, which are quite thrilling. Ranapa -- dances includes
balancing of talented dancers on bamboo stilts, which is a great
source of attractions among the natives.
Charming Odissi Dance
Odissi dance, the soul of Orissa State is the highly galvanized,
rapturous form of dance. Possibly the oldest classical dance form, one
must sit through a performance to experience its sheer lyrical grace.
Orissa treasures some of the most world-renowned temples, each carved
out of stones and rocks, displaying the people's religious faith.
These temples are the 'magnum opus' showcasing the skills of master
craftsmen, sculptures and architects which, later on became the center
of art and culture. It was here that Odissi Dance -- one of India's
enchanting dance-forms took birth. In ancient times the Odissi dance
was performed by the Devadasis (the temple dancers) in the temples of
Orissa on the occasions of holy ceremony and rituals.
It is a well entrenched and systematized classical dance form of
India, where the methodology, the characteristics, its style and
stages, are almost indescribable. Today Odissi dance is considered as
a dance of love, ecstasy and deep passion, divine all combined
¤ Folk Dances of Orissa
The special feature of 'Ghumra' Dance is musical instrument -- a
kind of drum that produces a deep musical sound. The dancer ties
ghumra - the drum round his neck and plays it all the while dancing.
The player sings and dances to its tune at social functions like
marriages or any religious festival.
There are also competitions that are held among the groups. Each
group consists of about twenty people and the dance goes on the whole
night. It is the most lively form of dance that attractions attention
Chhau Dance is one of the most important tribal dances of Orissa.
The basic postures and styles of this dance favor the postures of a
fighter in a traditional fight. It is also known as Phari Khanda Khela
-- the game of sword and shield or Rookmar Nacha - the dance of
offence and defense.
Chhau dance is mainly drawn from the episodes of Ramayana ,
Mahabharata and Krishna - the great legends of India. Most of the
dance sequence represents the fight of 'Abhimanyu' with the 'Sapta
Rathis', the killing of 'Mahishasura', 'Shiva Tandav', 'Kirat Arjuna',
etc. There are also significant tribal themes like 'Sabara Toka',
'Kala Chakra', 'Sabara Sabaruni'. The themes of Chhau are thus
legendary, mellowed with grace displaying the story of opera which is
at times co-related to visual poetry.
Naga Folk Dance
In this dance the dancer dresses like a worrier and wears a special
dress. He carries a shield of the hide of the rhinoceros, a sword, a
gun, a horn used as a whistle, an iron shield, bow and arrows, tiger
skin, and a bell. The bows have the face of a tiger that looks
magnificent. His crown is embellished with splendid peacock feathers,
ware a bead string around his neck, a mirror and a string of beads on
his wrist, small bell attached to the thigh. He applied a yellow
powder to his entire body and marks his forehead with vermilion. He
wears an artificial beard and moustache. A complete appearance of a
dancer gives a brutish look. The most interesting part of the dance is
that it doesn't have any song, it is just a gesture, face expressions
and the music that rules the entire show.
The other forms of folk dance like 'Humo', 'Bauli', 'Jhulki',
'Jamudali', 'Mayalajar', 'Gunjikata', 'Rasarkeli' and 'Puchi' are
prevalent among the Oriyas and natives of Orissa.