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Odissi performance
Genre Indian classical
Origin Odisha, India
Odissi dancer
An Odissi dancer
A 4-year-old girl performing Abhinaya

Odissi, also known as Orissi (Odia: ଓଡିଶୀ Oḍiśī), is one of the eight classical dance forms of India.[1][2][3][4] It originates from the state of Odisha, in eastern India. It is the oldest surviving dance form of India on the basis of archaeological evidences.[5][6] The classic treatise of Indian dance, Natya Shastra, refers to it as Odra-Magadhi. 1st century BCE bas-reliefs in the hills of Udaygiri (near Bhubaneswar) testify to its antiquity. It was suppressed under the British Rule, but has been reconstructed since India gained independence. It is particularly distinguished from other classical Indian dance forms by the importance it places upon the Tribhangi (literally: three parts break), the independent movement of head, chest and pelvis[7][8] and upon the basic square stance known as Chauka or Chouka that symbolises Lord Jagannath. This dance is characterised by various Bhangas (Stance), which involves stamping of the foot and striking various postures as seen in Indian sculptures. The common Bhangas are Bhanga, Abanga, Atibhanga and Tribhanga.

Though a very old dance form, Odissi got recognition as a classical dance from the Central government officially, after efforts by many scholars and performers in the 1950s, including a powerful lec-dem in April 1958 by Kavichandra Kalicharan Pattanayak, an Oriya poet, dramatist and researcher. Pattanayak is also credited with naming the dance form as "Odissi".[9]


  • Origin and history 1
    • Temple history 1.1
    • Manuscript evidence 1.2
    • Mughal and British period 1.3
  • Tradition and dancers 2
    • Mahari tradition 2.1
    • Gotipua tradition 2.2
  • Dance vocabulary and repertoire 3
  • Odissi terminology 4
  • Mudras 5
  • Odissi music 6
  • Costume and jewelry 7
  • In education 8
    • Odissi maestros and performers 8.1
  • Odissi in popular and mainstream culture 9
    • In Guinness World records 9.1
    • In India 9.2
    • Outside India 9.3
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • Further reading 12
  • External links 13

Origin and history

Temple rituals of Jagannath Temple, Puri, included Odissi.

The first clear picture of Odissi dance is found in the Manchapuri cave in Udayagiri which was carved during the time of emperor Kharavela. Flanked by two queens, emperor Kharavela was watching a dance recital where a damsel was performing a dance in front of the court along with the company of female instrumentalists. Thus, Odissi can be traced back to its origin as secular dance. Later it got attached with the temple culture of Odisha. Starting with the rituals of Jagannath temple in Puri it was regularly performed in Shaivite, Vaishnavite and Sakta temples in Odisha. An inscription is found where it was engraved that a Devadasi Karpursri’s attachment to Buddhist monastery, where she was performing along with her mother and grandmother. It proves that Odissi originated as a court dance. Later, it was performed in all religious places of Jainism as well as Buddhist monasteries. Odissi was initially performed in the temples as a religious offering by the Maharis who dedicated their lives in the services of God. It has the closest resemblance with sculptures of the Indian temples.[10]

The history of Odissi dance has been traced to an early sculptures found in the Ranigumpha caves at Udaygiri (Odisha), dating to the 2nd century BCE. Odissi appears to be the oldest classical dance rooted in rituals and tradition. In fact, the Natya Shastra refers to Odra-Magadhi as one of the Vrittis and Odra refers to Odisha.[11]

Temple history

In Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha, Udayagiri Caves, Khandagiri Caves and Jain Caves are present which date back to the 2nd century BCE, that served as a royal palace for emperor Kharavela. It is suggested by scholars that Odissi is archaeologically the oldest Indian classical dance form due to sculptural evidence found in the caves. There are several sculptures of dancers and musicians in Konark Sun Temple and Brahmeswara Temple in Bhubaneswar.

In the excavated ruins of the Buddhist Ratnagiri hills in Odisha, dating back to the 6th thru 9th centuries, several panels and icons of dance are found resembling present-day Odissi dance.

In the Tantric temples, such as the Hirapur Shrine, many of the yoginis especially are depicted in poses reminiscent of present-day Odissi. When Odisha became a big centre of worship of Lord Shiva, it is only natural that dance would be used as a form of worship, since Lord Shiva was a master dancer himself. He is also known as Nataraj, the Cosmic Lord of Dance. The Shaivite temples of Bhubaneswar display innumerable sculptures in postures of Odissi. The Vaishnavite Temples such as Jagannath Temple and Konark Sun Temple abound with an array of dancing sculptures carved into the temple walls, giving testimony that a particular school of dancing had continued from the Shaivite art tradition to the Vaishnavite art form.

Manuscript evidence

Sage Bharata's Natya Shastra, written in the 2nd century CE, speaks of four types of Pravrittis (local usages): Avanti, Dakshinatya, Panchali, and Odra Magadhi, and the areas where each type is employed. Some scholars have interpreted that Odra Magadhi is "the earliest literary reference" to Odissi.

Abhinaya Chandrika written by Maheshvara Mahapatra is a detailed study of the movements of the feet, hands, the standing postures, the movement and the dance repertoire. It includes illustrations of the Karanãs mentioned in NãtyaShãstra.

The illustrated manuscript Shilpaprakãsha deals with Odia architecture and sculpture as well as the figures of dance. In this, one finds an elaborate analysis of the manner in which the salabhanjikãs or the feminine figures called the Alasa Kanyas are carved in the temple. The illustrations of Shilpaprakãsha reinforces the evidence of sculpture in temples.

A rather unexpected source, the Jain Manuscripts, especially the Kalpasutra and Kalkacharya Kathãs show traces of Odia dance style although they were being executed in Gujarat. The marginal figures of dancers show women in poses and movements similar to the distinctive style of Odissi. For example, in one of the famous illustrated Jain Manuscripts called the Devasanpada Kalpasutra (1501, Jamnagar), there is depiction of the Samapada, the Tribhangi and the Chuaka.

This shows that there was a great deal of mobility between east and west and many migrations took place. According to some historians, there were groups of dancers who were brought to Puri from Gujarat and Andhra.

Mughal and British period

During the Mughal rule of India, the duties of the Maharis (the temple dancers) shifted, as they were employed to entertain the royal family and courtiers in the royal courts. They became associated with concubinage in respect to the king and ceased to be respected solely as servants to Lord Jagannath. A decline and degradation occurred in all the Indian Classical dance styles during the British period, especially when a bill was passed prohibiting temple dancing. Most of these dancers, losing their well-deserved place in society, were forced to prostitution to survive in the changing climate of political and cultural oppression of the British.

Tradition and dancers

Odissi pose at Konark Sun Temple

The Odissi tradition existed in three schools: Mahari, Nartaki, and Gotipua.

  • Maharis were Oriya devadasis or temple girls, their name deriving from Maha (great) and Nari or Mahri (chosen) particularly those at the temple of Jagganath at Puri. Early Maharis performed mainly Nritta (pure dance) and Abhinaya (interpretation of poetry) based on Mantras and Slokas. Later, Maharis especially performed dance sequences based on the lyrics of Jayadev's Gita Govinda. Bhitari Gauni Maharis were allowed in the inner temple while Bahari Gauni Maharis, though in the temples, were excluded from the sanctum sanctorum.
  • By the 6th century, the Gotipua tradition was emerging. One of the reasons given for the emergence of Gotipuas is that Vaishnavas did not approve of dancing by women. Gotipuas were boys dressed up as girls and taught the dance by the Maharis. During this period, Vaishnava poets composed innumerable lyrics in Odia dedicated to Radha and Krishna. Gotipuas danced to these compositions and gradually stepped out of the precincts of the temples.
  • Nartaki dance took place in the royal courts, where it was much cultivated before the British period. At that time the misuse of devadasis came under strong attack, so that Odissi dance withered in the temples and became unfashionable at court. Only the remnants of the Gotipua school remained, and the reconstruction of the style required an archaeological and anthropological effort that has tended to foster a conservative purism.[12]

Mahari tradition

The consecration of females to the service of temple dancing began in the Shaivite temples and continued in the Jagannath temple in service of the Lord Jagannath. These attendants have been known as Maharis (great women) or Devadasis (servants of the lord), and have been considered the wives of Lord Jagannath. Odissi developed through their art.

The first evidence of the Mahari institution in Odisha comes from a commemorative inscription by Udyota Kesari, the last King of the dynasty. In the 10th century the King’s mother, Kolavati Devi, dedicated temple dancers to Lord Shiva in the Brahmeswara Temple.

Raja Anantavarma Chodagangadeva appointed dancing girls for ritual services in the Jagannatha temple in the 11th century, and these Maharis were the ones responsible for keeping the dance alive for centuries. Through the technique of unequal division of weight and firm footwork balancing a fluid upper torso, the dancer achieves a sensuality that is uncommon in other classical dance styles. Some eminent Mahari dancers are Moni Mahari, Dimmi (Domi) Mahari, Dungri Mahari (Harapriya), and Padmashri Guru Pankaj Charan Das.

Gotipua tradition

In the Odia language Gotipua means single boy. Gotipua dance is performed only by boys who dress up as females. During the rule of King Prataprudra Dev, who was a follower of Sri Chaityana, renewed this dancing tradition by boys, as the Vaishnavas did not approve of dances by females.[13]

Dance vocabulary and repertoire

Odissi group performance
Odissi group performance

Traditional Odissi repertoire consists of:

An invocation piece. After paying homage to Lord Jagannath a shloka (hymn) in praise of some God or Goddess is sung, the meaning of which is brought out through dance. Mangalacharan also includes the Bhumi Pranam (salutation to Mother Earth) which is offered to Mother Earth as a way of begging forgiveness for stamping on her and the Trikhandi Pranam or the three-fold salutation – above the head to the Gods, in front of the face to the gurus and in front of the chest to the audience.
Battu Nrutya
Also known as Sthayee Nrutya or Batuka Bhairava (Furious Dance) it is performed in the honor of Lord Shiva- the cosmic Lord of Dance. It is one of the 64 furious-aspects of Lord Shiva known. The origin of dance is believed to be from Tantrism that had flourished in Odisha. Linga Purana and Mahanirvanatantra give an elaborate description of Batuka Bhairava in three aspects, and the results of their worship have also been explained elaborately in the texts. Battu Nrutya is an item of pure Nrutya (Dance)and remains the most difficult item of Odissi dance. The dance begins with a series of sculpturesque poses depicting such actions as the playing of a Veena (Lute), Mardala or Pakhawaj (Drum), Karatala (Cymbals) and Venu (Flute), that brings out the interrelationships between this dance and the dance sculptures adorning the temples of Odisha. These poses are stringed together with steps in different rhythms. There is no song or recitation accompanying the dance, but throughout the item a refrain of rhythmic syllables is provided. The accompanying refrain is in the form of one line of Ukuta and as this is recited in the Tala, different Jathi-patterns are improvised and are executed with the feet. Some Tala variations are introduced and each sequence of the dance terminates with a Tehdi known as Katam. The last sequence is always in Jhula Pahapata Tala and is performed with a fast tempo.
A pure dance item in which a raga is elaborated through eye movements, body postures & intricate footwork. Pallavi literally means "blossoming". This is applicable not only to the dance, but also to the music, which accompanies it. Pallavi starts with slow, graceful & lyrical movements of the eyes, neck, torso & feet & slowly builds in a crescendo to climax in a fast tempo at the end. Both the dance and the music evolve in complexity as the dancer traces multiple patterns in space, interpreting the music dexterously in the multilayered dimensions of taal (rhythm) and laya (speed).
An expressional dance which is an enactment of a song or poetry, where a story conveyed to the audience through mudras (hand gestures), bhavas (facial expression), eye movement and body movement. The dance is fluid, very graceful, and sensual. Abhinaya can be performed on verses in Sanskrit or Odia language. The verses are extremely ornate in content and suggestion. Most common are Abhinayas on Oriya songs or Sanskrit Ashthapadis or Sanskrit stutis like Dasavatar Stotram (depicting the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) or Ardhanari Stotram. Most of the Abhinaya compositions are based on the Radha-Krishna theme. The Astapadis of the kãvya Gita Govinda written by the Saint Jayadev are an integral part of its repertoire. The beginning pieces are dedicated to Lord Jagannath – an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.[14]
Dance drama
Usually longer than Abhinaya and typically performed by more than one dancers. Some of the much appreciated dance dramas composed by Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra are: Sudama Dharitra Bhanjana, Mathamani Pradhana, Balya Leela, Rutu Samhara, Krishna Sudama, Dushmanta Sakuntala, Utkala Mauda Mani, Yagnaseni, Meghadoot, Kumara Sambhava, Sapan Nayaka. Usually Hindu mythologies are chosen as themes, but experimenting with the theme and form in recent years have led to extremely unique creations. Some worth-mentioning themes in recent years are Panchakanya, Ganga Yamuna, Chitrangadaa, Shrita Kamalam, Mrutyuh, Tantra, Padapallavam, and Raavana.
Odissi Dance Drama
The concluding item of a recital. Moksha means “spiritual liberation”. This dance represents a spiritual culmination for the dancer who soars into the realm of pure aesthetic delight. Movement and pose merge to create ever new patterns, ever new designs in space and time. The dance moves onto a crescendo that is thrilling to both, the eye and the ear. With the cosmic sound of the “Om”, the dance dissolves into nothingness — just like Moksha or the deliverance of the soul in real life.

Odissi terminology

Sharmila Biswas performing Odissi in a dance festival in Kerala
It is the opening section of a typical Indian classical performance. It is unmetered, improvised (within the raga) and unaccompanied (except for the drone of the tanpura), and is started at a slow tempo.
Hide category of the 4 musical divisions, e.g. Mardala or Pakhawaj (Drum), Tabla, and Mridangam.
Asanjukta Dhvanis
Sound created by striking the Mardala or Pakhawaj (Drum) with one hand.
One complete cycle of a taal.
The spoken drum mnemonics. During dance performances Banis are spoken by the percussionist or the guru.
In taal, this would be the groups the taal is divided into. Also the points on which the tali, or khali would be e.g., Adital (Odissi) is divided into 4 groups of 4 beats. It is said that Adital has 4 Bhagas. These are the measures.
It is any type of Indian devotional song and has no fixed form. It may be as simple as a Mantra or Kirtan or as sophisticated as the Dhrupad or Kriti with music based on classical Ragas and Talas. It is normally lyrical, expressing love for the Divine.
In taal, this would be how the divisions of the taal are made e.g. in Adital (Odissi), the sixteen beats are divided into 4 groups of 4. So the Chanda for Adital is 4 + 4 + 4 + 4. This describes what the Bhagas are.
They were the original temple dancers who were "Servitress of God". They were dedicated to a deity or a temple. Apart from taking care of the temple and performing various rituals, these women learned and practiced Odissi dance, for dance and music were an essential part of temple worship. They enjoyed a high social status.
Gita Govinda
Poet Jayadev's famous work depicting the relationship of Radha, Krishna and Gopis in Vrindavan. Themes from this work have a great significance towards the classical arts of India.
These are barrel-shaped tension pegs made of wood which adorn the Mardala or Pakhawaj (Drum). The straps (Pitha) connecting the two apertures of the Mardala run over them. These pegs can be moved to either increase or decrease the tension of the leather membranes covering the two apertures of the Mardala and are useful in tuning it.
Young boys trained in the fine art of Odissi dance. The Gotipuas were allowed to leave the temple and dance for the public. The current form of Odissi is heavily influenced by the Gotipua tradition (and also the temple carvings from Odisha.)
Khanda Ukutta
When bani and ukuttas are formed together to make phrases. e.g., Kititaka Gadigana.
The ending sequence that is repeated to designate that the ending of the piece or of a section that is typically in 3 repeats. People in Odisha interchangeably use Tihai and Mana, but they are the same.
Maharis or Devadasis
The original temple dancers of Odisha, but now extinct. This is the root of Odissi dance that was later taught to young boys, Gotipuas. The style is now modernized and work is being done to preserve it.[15]


Mudras are hand gesstures which are used to express the meaning of a given act. In a dance we convey emotions, inner feelings or an incident by hand gestures. Mudras in Odissi dance are divided into three parts,

  • Asamyukta Hasta – Single hand Mudras – 28 Prakar (gestures)
  • Samyukta Hasta – Joint hand Mudras – 24 Prakar (gestures)
  • Nrutya Hasta – “Pure Dance” Mudras (Select few out of the above categories).

The Mudra system is derived from the "Abhinaya Darpana" by Nandikeshavara.

List of Asmayukta Hasta (One hand gestures):

Pataka- Flag

Tripataka – Three parts of a flag

Ardhapataka – Half flag

Kartarimukha – Scissors face

Mayura – Peacock

Ardhachandra – Half moon

Arala – Crooked

Sukhatunda – Parrot’s Beak

Mushti – Fist

Shikhara – Spire

Kapittha – Wood apple

Kataka Mukha – Type of bird

Suchi – Needle

Chandrakala – Dark moon

Padmakosha – Half open lotus flower

Sarpashirsha – Serpent head

Mrigashirsha – Dear head

Simhamukha – Lion Face

Kangula – Bulb

Alapadma – Fully open lotus flower

Chatura – Smart /Square

Bramhara – Bee

Hamsasaya – Wild Goose or Swan

Hamsapakshya – Wild Goose or Swan’s wing

Samdamsa – Firefly

Mukula – flower bud

Tamrachuda – Rooster

Trishula – Trident (Emblem of Shiva)

List Samyukta Hasta Mudras (Joint hand gestures):

Anjali – Salutation

Kapota – Dove

Karkata – Crab

Swastika – Cross

Dola – Swing

Pushpaputa – Flower casket

Utsanga – Embrace

Shivalinga – Masculine principal

Katakavardhana – Link of increase

Kartariswastika – Crossed arrows

Shakata – Cart

Shankha – Conch shell

Chakra – Wheel

Samputa – Casket

Pasha – Noose

Kilaka – Bond

Matsya – Fish

Kurma – Turtle

Varaha – Wild boar

Garuda – Eagle

Nagabandha – Serpent tie

Khatva – Cot

Bherunda – Two-headed bird / pair of birds

Avahita – Holding things

Odissi music

Odissi dance is accompanied by Odissi music, a synthesis of four classes of music,[16][17] i.e. Dhruvapada, Chitrapada, Chitrakala and Panchal. The Dhruvapada is the first line or lines to be sung repeatedly. Chitrapada means the arrangement of words in an alliterative style. The use of art in music is called Chitrakala. Kavisurya Baladev Rath, the renowned Oriya poet wrote lyrics, which are the best examples of Chitrakala. All of these were combined to form the style that's peculiar to Odissi music.

Chhanda (metrical section) contains the essence of Odissi music. The Chhandas were composed by combining Bhava (theme), Kala (time), and Swara (tune). The Chaurisha represents the originality of Odissi style. All the thirty four (34) letters of the Oriya alphabet from 'Ka' to 'Ksha' are used chronologically at the beginning of each line.

A special feature of Odissi music is the padi which consists of words to be sung in Druta Tala (fast beat). Odissi music can be sung to different talas: Navatala (nine beats), Dashatala (ten beats) or Egartala (eleven beats). Odissi ragas are different from the ragas of Hindustani and Karnataki classical music. The primary Odissi ragas[16][17] are Kalyana, Nata, Shree Gowda, Baradi, Panchama, Dhanashri, Karnata, Bhairavee and Shokabaradi.

Odissi music is sung through Raganga, Bhabanga and Natyanga Dhrubapadanga followed by Champu, Chhanda, Chautisa, Pallabi, Bhajan, Janana, and Gita Govinda, which are considered to be a part of the repertoire of Odissi or an allied act form of Odissi.

Odissi music has codified grammars, which are presented with specific Raagas. It has also a distinctive rendition style. It is lyrical in its movement with wave-like ornamentation. The pace of singing in Odissi is not very fast nor too slow, and it maintains a proportional tempo which is very soothing.

Costume and jewelry

See also: Tarakashi, Sambalpuri Saree and Bomkai Saree

The jewellery is made from intricate filigree silver jewellery pieces. Filigree, in French, means "thin wire", and in Oriya it is called Tarakasi. This highly skilled art form is more than 500 years old and is traditionally done by local artisans on the eastern shores of Odisha.[18] The process of creating each piece takes the collaboration of many artisans each specialised in one step of the many that turns a lump of raw silver into a handcrafted work of art.

The jewellery pieces are an important part of the female Odissi dancer’s costume. The hair is drawn into an elaborate bun on which the Tahiya is placed. The Seenthi is a jewellery piece placed on the hair and forehead. The dancers face is adorned with Tikka (decorations made by hand with sandalwood paste), Mathami or Matha Patti (forehead ornament), Allaka (head piece on which the tikka hangs), unique ear covers called Kapa in intricate shapes usually depicting a peacock’s feathers, an ear chain, Jhumkas (bell shaped earrings), a short necklace, and a longer necklace with a hanging pendant.

The dancer wears a pair of armlets also called Bahichudi or Bajuband, that is worn on the upper arm. They wear a pair of Kankana (bangles) at the wrist. At the waist they wear an elaborate belt made of silver or similar materials that's silver plated. They wear a pair of ankle bells (numerous small bells strung together on a single string) tied around their ankles. The dancer's palms and soles are painted with red coloured dye called the Alta.

The Odissi Costume.
The Odissi Costume

The crown or Mukoot or Mookut, worn by the Odissi dancer is made only in the devotional city of Puri in Eastern Odisha. It is formed from the dried reeds called Sola in a tradition called Sola Kama. The reed is carved by a series of cuts into the rod-like stem and forms various types of flowers when a string is tied in the middle of the rod and pulled tight. As the string is tightened, the flowers shape into Jasmines, Champa (one of the five flowers of Lord Krishna’s arrows), and Kadamba (the flowers of the tree under which Radha would wait for her beloved Lord Krishna).

The Mukoot consists of two parts i.e. Ghoba and Tahiya. The flower decorated back piece, called the Ghoba, sits around the dancer’s hair pulled into a bun at the back of the head. This piece represents the Lotus flower with a thousand petals that lies above the head in the head Chakra, or energy center. The longer piece that emerges from the center of the back piece is called the Tahiya, and this represents the temple spire of Lord Jagannath or the flute of Lord Krishna.

The Saree worn by Odissi dancers are generally coloured with bright shades of orange, purple, red or green. These sarees are characterised by features of traditional prints of Odisha, special borders, intricate designs and a shiny embellishment. This costume is drapped around the body in unique traditional way unlike other classical dance forms of India. Sambalpuri Saree and Bomkai Saree are preferred in Odissi dance over other type of Sarees. "Stitched costumes" are popular with the younger generation for its convenience and is composed of five pieces, that includes angrakha, blouse, pyjama, etc. These costumes are created by making use of the Sambalpuri and Bomkai saree materials.

The makeup of an Odissi dancer includes Bindi (red dot), applied on the forehead with a pattern made from sandalwood around it, Kajal (black eyeliner), applied around the eyes with a broad outline to give them an elongated look, among others.

In education

Odissi has been included in Indian Institute of Technology Bhubaneswar's BTech syllabus since 2015 as the first Indian national technical institute to introduce any classical dance in syllabus.[19][20][21]

Odissi maestros and performers

Kelucharan Mohapatra, Pankaj Charan Das, Deba Prasad Das and Raghunath Dutta were the four major gurus who revived Odissi in the late forties and early fifties. Sanjukta Panigrahi was a leading disciple of Kelucharan Mohapatra who popularized Odissi by performing in India and abroad. In the mid-sixties, two other disciples of Kelucharan Mohapatra, Kumkum Mohanty and Sonal Mansingh, were known for their performances in India and abroad. Laximipriya Mohapatra performed a piece of Odissi abhinaya in the Annapurna Theatre in Cuttack in 1948, a show upheld as the first classical Odissi dance performance after its contemporary revival.[22] Mayadhar Raut also played a major role in giving Odissi dance its classical status. He introduced Mudra Vinyoga in 1955 and Sancharibhava in the Odissi dance items, and portrayed Shringara Rasa in Gita Govinda Ashthapadis. His notable compositions include Pashyati Dishi Dishi and Priya Charu Shile, composed in 1961.[23][24]

Most of the present-day gurus were Gotipua dancers and trainers. In the early fifties, the outside world began to take note of Odissi. Priyambada Mohanty Hejmadi and Susama Tej represented Odisha in the classical dance category at the Inter University Youth Festival, New Delhi, in 1954 and 1955. It was here that Charles Fabri witnessed their performances, hailed Odissi as a great classical dance form, and helped Indrani Rehman and Sonal Mansingh train. Hejmadi moved to the United States for several years, rarely performing, and returned to India in the mid-seventies.

Eminent contemporary gurus and performers in alphabetic order include Gangadhar Pradhan, Geeta Mahalik, Ileana Citaristi, Kasturi Pattanaik, Madhumita Raut, Minati Mishra, Nandita Behera, Oopali Operajita, Ratikant Mohapatra, Sharmila Biswas, Sharon Lowen, Sonal Mansingh, and Sujata Mohapatra.

Some of the upcoming Odissi performers in alphabetic order are Devraj Patnaik, Dona Ganguly, Ellora Patnaik, Masako Ono, Reela Hota, Saswat Joshi, and Srinwanti Chakrabarti.

Odissi in popular and mainstream culture

In Guinness World records

Guinness World Records – Participation certificate in the largest Odissi dance event

Guinness World Records has acknowledged the feat of the largest congregation of Odissi dancers in a single event. 555 Odissi dancers performed at the event hosted on 23 December 2011, in the Kalinga stadium, Bhubaneswar, Orissa. The dancers performed the Mangalacharan, Battu, Pallavi, Abhinay and Mokshya dance items from the Odissi repertoire.[25][26][27][28]

In India

1993: Dressed in a resplendent orange sanyasin dhoti (probably inspired by the Mayurbhanj Chau costume worn in Shiva Tandava items), renowned Bollywood actress Meenakshi Sheshadri danced a tandava item, composed chiefly in Odissi, in the film Damini – Lightning.

1996: Renowned Bollywood actress Rekha was seen imparting Odissi dance lessons (Shikhandika pose) to a group of young learners, while Indira Varma was shown learning Odissi steps to the accompaniment of the mardala in Mira Nair's magnum opus film Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love.

2003: Renowned Bollywood actress Rani Mukherjee performed a dance at the International Indian Film Academy Awards function dressed in Odissi costume and a number of celebrated Odissi gurus and performers expressed their disapproval for insulting the integrity of the dance and the costume.[29]

2007: An entire sequence of dance in Odissi costume was featured near the end of the Bollywood movie Bhool Bhulaiyaa and was performed by Bollywood actress Vidya Balan and Malayalam actor Vineeth.

2009: Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, who took Odissi lessons for an India-China joint film venture, The Desire loosely based on the life of Odissi dancer Protima Gauri Bedi.

2012: National Award-winning Bengali filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh used Odissi dance in his film "Chitrangada: The Crowning Wish". Kolkata-based Odissi exponent and 2012 Sangeet Natak Akademi Awardee Guru Sharmila Biswas taught Rituparno Ghosh Odissi for his film.[30]

Outside India

1991: A short (23 second) Odissi dance scene was featured in Michael Jackson's music video of Black or White. The legendary pop-singer and dancer from Sri Lanka named Jamuna, performs some Odissi, too.[31] Jamuna was a disciple of Odissi exponent Gangadhar Pradhan.[32]

1998: Madonna danced along with Odissi dancers live on stage during the 1998 MTV Award ceremony. US-based Odissi performers, Patnaik Sisters, were chosen to choreograph and perform alongside the legendary pop artist.

See also


  1. ^ Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT)
  2. ^ Guidelines for Sangeet Natak Akademi Ratna and Akademi Puraskar
  3. ^ Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT)- Performing Arts
  4. ^ India Ministry of Culture
  5. ^ "Odissi Classical Dance of India – Classical Odissi Dance India,Classical Odissi Dance Vacations India,Classical Odissi Dances Tour in India". Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  6. ^ "Odissi Kala Kendra". Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  7. ^ Article by David Courtney retrieved July 2008
  8. ^ Sehgal, Sunil (1999). Encyclopaedia of Hinduism: (H – Q). Sarup & Sons. p. 868.  
  9. ^ David Dennen. "The Naming of Odissi: Changing Conceptions of Music in Odisha". 
  10. ^ Odissi
  11. ^ [2] Archived 15 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Alessandra Lopez y Royo, "The reinvention of odissi classical dance as a temple ritual," published in The Archaeology of Ritual ed. Evangelos Kyriakidis, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA 2007
  13. ^ "Gotipua Dance". Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  14. ^ "Odissi". 12 July 1997. Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  15. ^ John Merrell - "Odissi Mardala, Odissi music & Odissi dance". Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  16. ^ a b "Culture Department". Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  17. ^ a b "Dance Music Orissa,Orissa Dances,Odissi Dances,Music of Orissa,Orissa Traditional Regional Music Dances,Local Dances of Orissa,Orissa Regional Music". Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  18. ^ "Odissi Costumes Jewelry". Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  19. ^ Pradhan, Ashok (11 September 2015). "IIT Bhubaneswar becomes first IIT in country to introduce dance as BTech subject". Times of India. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  20. ^ Barik, Satyasundar (12 September 2015). "IIT-Bhubaneswar to train students in Odissi too". The Hindu. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  21. ^ "IIT-Bhubaneswar Becomes First IIT to Introduce Odissi as a Course". New Indian Express. 12 September 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  22. ^ "Steps to success". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). 9 August 2010. 
  23. ^ Kaktikar, A. Odissi Yaatra: The Journey of Guru Mayadhar Raut. Delhi: B. R. Rhythms. 2010. ISBN 978-81-88827-21-3.
  24. ^ Orissa Diary
  25. ^ Odissi dancers pierce in the Guinness World Records
  26. ^ The New Indian Express: Odissi dancers enter Guinness
  27. ^ Odissi dancers enter Guinness
  28. ^ Guinness World Records enlists Odissi dance show
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Further reading

  • Odissi : What, Why and How… Evolution, Revival and Technique, by Madhumita Raut. Published by B. R. Rhythms, Delhi, 2007. ISBN 81-88827-10-X.
  • Odissi Yaatra: The Journey of Guru Mayadhar Raut, by Aadya Kaktikar (ed. Madhumita Raut). Published by B. R. Rhythms, Delhi, 2010. ISBN 978-81-88827-21-3.
  • Odissi Dance, by Dhirendranath Patnaik. Published by Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi, 1971.
  • Odissi – The Dance Divine, by Ranjana Gauhar and Dushyant Parasher. Published by Niyogi Books, 2007. ISBN 81-89738-17-8.
  • Odissi, Indian Classical Dance Art: Odisi Nritya, by Sunil Kothari, Avinash Pasricha. Marg Publications, 1990. ISBN 81-85026-13-0.
  • Perspectives on Odissi Theatre, by Ramesh Prasad Panigrahi, Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi. Published by Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi, 1998.
  • Abhinaya-chandrika and Odissi dance, by Maheshwar Mahapatra, Alekha Chandra Sarangi, Sushama Kulshreshthaa, Maya Das. Published by Eastern Book Linkers, 2001. ISBN 81-7854-010-X.
  • Rethinking Odissi, by Dinanath Pathy. Published by Harman Pub. House, 2007. ISBN 81-86622-88-8.

External links

  • Odissi dance at the Open Directory
  •'s Odissi Page
  • Classical Indian Dance Portal
  • History of Odissi
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