Odissi dance one of the oldest forms of classical dance in India traces its origins to Natya Shastra- the sacred Sanskrit text on performing arts. It evolved further after it received royal patronage. The carvings found at the Udayagiri Monastery denote that Odissi was patronised as early as 2ndCentury BCE and the trend continued unabated till 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 KabichandraKalicharanPattanayak 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 soulful expressions accompanied by graceful gestures and deft movements punctuated with intermittent moments of stillness appropriates watching Odissi Dance to “Poetry in Motion”.
The range of emotions portrayed is huge and touches every emotional chord right from melancholy to ecstasy to sensual to rage to pride to devotion to philosophical to the religious. If the love of Radha and Krishna is the conjugation of the sensual and the divine. The Tandava of Lord Shiva is conjugation of the energy and rhythm. The Ardhanarishvara is conjugation of the masculine and feminine.