Odissi.. What is it?

Also referred as Orrisi, Odissi is originated from the Hindu temples of Odisha the eastern coastal state of India . It is a dance drama of performing arts. Traditionally performed by women expressing  spiritual ideas mainly related to Vaishnavism that is Lord Vishnu as Jagganath.  It also expresses the tradition of Hindu gods  Shiva and Surya and as well as the Hindu goddesses .


Being a form of  Indian classical dance it also has its roots from the Sanskrit text Natyashastra.  Traditionally this dance form has two major styles the first is known as Maharis which is performed by women and has its focus on solemn . The second style is Gotipuas which is performed by men dressed as women.

The tradition of this dance form declined during Islamic era and suppressed under  the British rule . When Indian started protests against the suppression of Indian tradition and gained Independence that lead to the revival of this dance form.

Being a genre of performing arts the performers of this dance forms play out a mythical story, a spiritual messages or poems wearing symbolic costumes using Abhinay (expressions) Body movements and Mudras(gestures).


Positions in an Odissi dance .

“Bhangas”are known as the basic unit of this dance form . Made up of eight “Belis” or movements  combined in many varieties.

The motions of this dance form are Uthas (rising up) , Baithas( sitting down) and Sthankas(standing).

The positions in this dance form are..

                            It is the position when the weight is equally placed on both the legs , The spine is straight and arms are raised up with a bent in the elbow.  

2. Abhanga:                                                                                                                The body weight keep shifting side  to side on both the legs due to leg bends keeping the feet and knees outwards and   the hips sideways.

3. Tribhanga   :                                                                                                                          Its that shape of the body in which Torso is deflecting in one direction and head and hips are deflecting in another direction. At this time the body has a S shape.                

Samabhanga pose
Abhanga pose
Tribhanga pose

Costume and attire of an Odissi dancer.

The performers of this dance form are very colorfully dressed up with the makeup and jewelry. As this form of dance is predominantly performed by women so the attire of the performer is very beautiful and attractive. The performer wears the brightly colored silk saree plated and stitched to the front allowing the flexible footwork. These sarees has their tradition Odisha prints and embellishments .

Talking about their jewelry so they have a unique jewelry  that are Ear covers known as Kapa complemented with the necklace and armlets also known as bhajubands . Their hair are tied up like a Bun and is decorated with white flowers. And being a classical dance form they wear Ghungross on their ankles.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *