My letter for the Day is ‘O’
Odissi is one of the famous Indian classical dance forms. It has its root in Orissa but it has got international popularity. Previously it was performed predominantly by women,and expressed religious stories and spiritual ideas, particularly of Vaishnavism (Vishnu as Jagannath).
Odissi dance is almost 2000 years old. It is highly passionate, sensuous dance form and it had its origin in the ‘Devadasi’ tradition. In between 8th and 11th century, the kings took great pride in excelling in the arts of music and dance. They built scintillating temples where Odissi dance was born, nurtured and nourished.
How to perform this dance?
Odissi is a dance of divine love, joy and passion. The dancers use their head, bust and torso in soft flowing movements to express specific movements and emotions.
The traditional Odissi dance starts with a prayer Mangalacharana. A shloka (hymn) in praise of a God or Goddess is sung. Mangalacharan is followed by Pushpanjali (offering of flowers) and Bhumi Pranam (salutation to mother earth). The prayer includes the three-fold salutation (Trikhandi Pranam) – to the Devas (gods), to the Gurus (teachers) and to the Lokas or Rasikas (fellow dancers and audience).
The next sequential step in an Odissi performance is Batu, also known as Battu Nrutya or Sthayee Nrutya or Batuka Bhairava. This dance (nritta) is performed in the honor of Shiva. This dance has no song or recitation, just rhythmic music.
The nritya follows next, and consists of Abhinaya, or an expressional dance which is an enactment of a song or poetry.The dancer(s) communicate the story in a sign language, using mudras (hand gestures), bhavas (enacting mood, emotions), eye and body movement.
The natya part, or dance drama, is next in sequence. Usually Hindu mythologies, epics and legendary dramas are chosen as themes.
Moksha is the final inclusion in the performance sequence. This dance movement traditionally attempts to convey a sense of spiritual release and soul liberation, soaring into the realm of pure aesthetics.
The three primary dance positions in Odissi are:
- Samabhanga – the square position, with weight equally placed on the two legs, spine straight, arms raised up with elbows bent.
- Abhanga – the body weight shifts from side to side, due to deep leg bends, while the feet and knees are turned outwards, and one hip extending sideways.
- Tribhanga – is an S-shaped three-fold bending of body, with torso deflecting in one direction whiles the head and hips deflecting in the opposite direction of torso. Further, the hands and legs frame the body into a composite of two squares (rectangle), providing an aesthetic frame of reference.
Mudras are the hand gestures which are used by the dancers to express the meaning of the dance form.
- Asamyukta Hasta – Single hand Mudras – 28 Prakar (gestures, for instance to communicate a salute, prayer, embrace, energy, bond, swing, carriage, shell, arrow, holding a thing, wheel, and so on.)
- Samyukta Hasta – Double hand Mudras – 24 Prakar (gestures, for instance to indicate a flag, flower, type of bird or animal, moon, action like grasping, and so on.)
- Nrutya Hasta – “Pure Dance” Mudras
The Odissi dance consists of musical instruments which include various regional musical instruments, such as Pakhawaj, the Mardala (barrel drum), harmonium, flute, sitar, violin, cymbals held in fingers and others.
The female dancers wear bright colored traditional saree such as Bomkai and the Sambalpuri with broad front pleats for easy and flexible movements.
Dancers adorn silver jewelries on head, ear, neck, arm and wrists. The hair is tied in a bun and decorated with a moon shaped crest of white flowers, or a reed crown called Mukoot with peacock feathers (symbolism for Lord Krishna). Female dancers wear a tikka on forehead adorned with various jewelry such as the Allaka (head piece on which the tikka hangs) and outline her eyes prominently with Kajal.
Ear covers called Kapa or ear rings decorate the sides of the head, while necklace adorns the neck. The dancer wears a pair of armlets also called Bahichudi or Bajuband, on the upper arm. The wrist is covered with Kankana (bangles). At the waist they wear an elaborate belt which ties down one end of the Sari. The ankles are decorated with a leather piece on top of which are bells (ghungroo).The dancer’s palms and soles may be painted with red coloured dye called the Alta.
Male performers wear dhoti – a broadcloth tied around waist, pleated for movement, and tucked between legs; usually extends to knee or lower. Upper body is bare chested, and a long thin folded translucent sheet wrapping over one shoulder and usually tucked below a wide belt.
Sharing here some videos of Odissi Dance:
See what dance form I have shared for the letter ‘N’
What will be my next dance form for the letter ‘P’?
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Source: Wikipedia, indianmirror, chandrakantha
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