Photo by Samuli Airaksinen
Photo by Samuli Airaksinen

Odissi - Classical Indian Temple Dance

Aravi Pallavi - danced by Sujata Mohapatra Ji

 

Odissi, also known as Orissi (Oriya: ଓଡିଶୀ Oḍiśī), is one of the eight classical dance forms of India to in worship to Lord Jagannath. It originates from the state of Odisha, in eastern India.

It was suppressed under the British Raj, 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 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 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.

Kalbelia Dance - Indian Gypsy Dance

' The Kalbelia dance, performed to celebrate any joyful moment in the community, is an integral part of Kalbelia culture. Their dances and songs are a matter of pride and a marker of identity for the Kalbelias and they represent the creative adaptation of this community of snake charmers to changing socioeconomic conditions and their own role in rural Rajasthani society.

The dancers are women in flowing black skirts who dance and swirl, replicating the movements of a serpent. The upper body cloth is called Angrakhi and a piece of cloth worn on head known as Odhani similarly the lower body cloth is called Lengha. All these cloths are mixed in red and black hues and embroidered in such a way that when these dancers perform these clothes represent a combination of colours soothing to eyes as well as to the atmosphere.

The male participants take care of the musical part of the dance. They use the different instruments such as the pungi, a woodwind instrument traditionally played to capture snakes, the dufli, been, the khanjari - a percussion instrument, morchang, khuralio and the dholak to create the rhythm on which the dancers perform. The dancers are tattooed in traditional designs and wear jewelry and garments richly embroidered with small mirrors and silver thread. As the performance progresses, the rhythm becomes faster and faster and so does the dance.[5]

Kalbelia songs are based on stories taken from folklore and mythology and special dances are performed during Holi. The Kalbelia have a reputation for composing lyrics spontaneously and improvising songs during performances. These songs and dances are part of an oral tradition that is handed down generations and for which there are neither texts nor training manuals. In 2010, the Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan were declared a part of its Intangible Heritage List by the UNESCO.[6] ' (Wikipedia)

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