Indian Classical Dance Form Odissi


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Odissi is a dance form from the state of Odisha in eastern India. It is recognised as one of the eight classical dance forms of India, and celebrated around the world for its lyricism, sensuality and emphasis on bhakti bhava (attitude of devotion and surrender). Odissi gained visibility in India and internationally from the 1950s onwards when it began to be presented on theatre stages. Since then, Odissi dancers and writers have claimed that it is the oldest of India's classical dance forms, which was earlier performed in the temples of Odisha. These claims are based on a range of architectural and textual evidence, and living ritual traditions. Based on an examination of established and newer scholarship, it may be noted that multiple historical roots, including the artistic and performance traditions of pre-modern Odisha, and the work of artists in post-Independence India, have informed the formation of Odissi as a 'classical' dance form from the mid-twentieth century onwards. Located on the eastern coast of India, on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, Odisha is bound by land on its other sides. The town of Puri lies at the south-eastern edge of the coast, and approximately 60 kilometres north of it lies Bhubaneswar, established as the state capital in 1948­–49. Adjacent to Puri is another coastal town, Konark, famous for its Sun Temple. Odisha’s old capital and second-largest city, Cuttack, lies 25 kilometres north of Bhubaneswar. Geographically, the towns of Puri, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Konark in eastern Odisha are at the nucleus of the story of Odissi, although a number of performance and ritual traditions that have informed the movements, music and repertoire of the dance exist outside this coastal core.