Odissi is a Indian classical dance form, which emerged in the eastern state of Orissa. It is a dance form which is about 2000 years old. Modern Odissi dance is a modification of the traditional form of the dance, as it was on the verge of extinction during the colonial period.
Three categorical schools of Odissi are popular, they include:
- Gotipua Style(popularized by the women dancers who served the deities in the temples
- Mahari Style(popularized by the dancers of the royal courts)
- Nartaki Style(popularized by young men who performed the role of women characters)
The tribhanga and chouka are the two essential postures of Odissi.
Themes of Odissi Dance:
Odissi mainly deals with religious themes. One of the popular themes is the spiritual love of Radha and Krishna. The Ashtapadis of Jayadev are the other recurrent themes of Odissi.
Pioneers of Odissi dance:
Some of the leading pioneers of Odissi are Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Guru Pankaj Charan Das and Guru Deba Prasad Das. Guru Kelu Charan Mahapatra is an eminent figure in the history of Odissi dance. He was born in Orissa, in 1926. Smt.Sanjukta Panigrahi’s contribution to the revival of this form of dance is enormous. She worked hard to establish Odissi as popular form of dance when it was about to be lost in the darkness of extinction.
Few names of contemporary Odissi dancers whose contributions are enormous:
- Sujata Mohapatra
- Aloka Kanungo
- Gangadhar Pradhan
- Surupa Sen
- Bijayini Satpathy
- Durga Charan Ranbir
- Jhelum Paranjape
- Ramli Ibrahim
- Ratna Roy
- Madhavi Mudgal and many others.