||Odissi hails from the state of Orissa.
At once sensuous and spiritual, it has the ability to manifest erotic sentiment
in a deeply reverential manner. It celebrates the love of Radha
and Krishna, the supreme soul-mates
as immortalized in the Geet Govinda, the mystic-erotic poem by Jayadeva.
Odissi is considered to be one of the oldest
surviving dance forms based on archaeological
evidence. The traditional dance form of Orissa, owes its origin to
the temple dances of the devadasis (temple
dancers). Possibly, the oldest classical dance form in the country, Odissi has
been mentioned in inscriptions, depicted on sculptures, in temples like the Brahmeswara
and the dancing hall of the Sun Temple at Konark. In the 1950s, the entire dance
form was revitalized, thanks to the Abhinaya Chandrika and sculpted dance poses
found in temples.
||While the form is curvaceous, concentrating
on the tribhang or the division of the body into three parts, head,
bust and torso,
the mudras and the expressions are similar to those of Bharatnatyam.
Odissi performances are replete with lore of the eighth
incarnation of Vishnu, Lord Krishna.
It is a soft, lyrical classical dance, which depicts the ambience of Orissa and
the philosophy of its most popular deity, Lord Jagannath.
Odissi is based on the popular devotion to Lord Krishna and the verses of the
Sanskrit play Geet Govinda are used to depict
the love and devotion to God. The Odissi dancers use their head, bust and torso
in soft flowing movements to express specific moods and emotions.