Odissi dance is one of theclassical dances of India.
It is indigenous to Orissa, eastern India, and follows the principles of the Natya-shastra.
The dance has its origin in the temples.
The carvings found at the Udayagiri Monastery denote that Odissi was patronised as early as the 2nd Century BCE and the trend continued unabated until about the 16th Century AD.
After surviving the tumultuous years from 16th century AD till independence, Odissi underwent a renaissance of sorts which helped it become the global phenomenon it is today.
The classical music and dance form of Odisha was prefixed with “Odissi” by noted Odia poet Kabichandra Kalicharan Pattanayak, who was the centre of the cultural revival of Odisha post-independence, to retain its distinct identity.
Odissi dance form can be broken down to the movement of the head, bust and torso and the accompanying gestures and expressions.
The techniques of movement are built around the two basic postures of the Chowk and the Tribhanga. The chowk is a position imitating a square – a very masculine stance with the weight of the body equally balanced. The tribhanga is a very feminine stance where the body is deflected at the neck, torso and the knees.
Odissi dance deals largely with the love theme of Radha and Krishna.
Natyashastra, in full Bharata Natyashastra, is a detailed treatise and handbook on dramatic art that deals with all aspects of classical Sanskrit theatre.
It is believed to have been written by the mythic Brahman sage and priest Bharata (200 BC – 200 AD).
Its many chapters contain detailed treatments of all the diverse arts that are embodied in the classical Indian concept of the drama, including dance, music, poetics, and general aesthetics.
It is also known as the fifth veda as it has been evolved by taking words from the Rigveda, music from the Samaveda, gestures from the Yajurveda and emotions from the Atharvaveda.