Indian Traditional Dance


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What is Odissi?

Odissi is a historical dance that originates in the Odisha-otherwise known as Orissa- precinct of India and is thought to be over 2000yrs old. Odissi originated from the ‘Devadasi’ cult, wherein young women were ‘married’ to gods and remained in the service of the temple, worshipping their lord and master through this lyrical form of dance.
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Background Information

The main language spoken in Odisha is Oriya yet Hindi, Bengal, Telugu, Urdu are all widely understood and the people of Odisha write in Devangari script. Historically Chitrakars or artists were patronised by feudal landlords and kings, leaving them free to scale new heights of creativity in all fields. Odisha is famous for it's murals, cloth and palm leaf paintings.

Music and Costumes

The music used in the Odissi dance are slow clacking tones accompanied by a twanging string instrument, it is considered a lulling sound. The costumes that are worn in the Odissi dance are bright sarees and blouses embellished by diverse stones and gold and silver thread. Bangles, earrings, necklaces, anklets and arm pieces are worn for jewellery. Their make-up includes white face paint, dark red lipstick and thick eyeliner.

Dance Movements

The Odissi dance includes lots of head , neck and hand movements. It is quite a slow dance that involves jumps an turns. The dancers feet change positions quite frequently.