The current form of Odissi is the product of a 20th century revival.
When one speaks of the culture of Orissa the mention of Orissi dance becomes a natural thing to do. And when one speaks of the Odissi dance, a mention of the great Sanskrit poet Jayadeva, who wrote the Gita Govinda becomes a must.Manohar Sajnani
The new form of Odissi had its old historic roots yet it had changed to conform to the changing cultural trends of the people during the 1950s-60s. Earlier it was bound within the religious doors of the Hindu temples but upon its revival it became a more public or secular form of art and was performed on stage world wide.
Samjukta Panigrahi along with her guru Kelucharan Mahapatra, is credited with reviving the all but extinct Odissi dance, an ancient Indian performance form from Orissa state. Odissi is solo form that combines music, song and a style of dance that includes a rich choreography with mudra hand gestures similar to those in other Indian genres such as Kathakali and pantomimic movement to convey complex narratives of love, personnel sacrifice and humankind’s relations to the gods.
Straight lines don’t exists in Odissi. In contrast to the other classical Indian dances…take the position of tribhangi, the characteristic position of the Odissi style, made from three curves of the body with the torso displaced in the opposite direction to that of the waist and the head.
Odissi traces its origins to the ritual dances performed in the temples of ancient northern India. Today the name Odissi refers to the dance style of the state of Orissa in eastern India.
When the dancers had only the static sculptures of the temples to recreate Odissi, their task was to design the movement from stance A to stance B in a way designing the in-between space or the transition from one gesture to another, which can be likened to the process of moving through a temple or going down a stepped well and experiencing the different threshold to reach the destination.
The Odissi dancer Samjukta Panigrahi...carried the heritage of an ancient art form revived in her body. Her artistry was based on the teaching of her guru Kelucharan Mahapatra, her ability to give physical form to the ancient carvings of temple of temple dancers on the walls of the temples in Orissa, and the transformation of the Natyashstra’s performance rules into the Odissi dance form.
Odissi dancers use their heads, busts, and torsos in soft flowing movements to express specific moods and emotions.
In Indian Odissi dance, the performers’ body must be curved like a ‘S’ which passes through the head, shoulders and head. The principle of thribhangi sinuosity is clearly visible in all classical Indian statues…
Odissi is the only dance today in which practicing artist still use the term [bandha] to mean a separate follow the strictest egory of dance sequence. These follow the strictest possible rules of movements, some time producing acrobatic postures.
Odissi has emerged as a sculpturesque dance in which the head, bust and torso move in soft flowing movements to express specific moods and emotions.
In the Odissi syle [we have] many different steps in the basic position called chauka , which means square, and the same amount in the position called tribhanghi , when the body assume three curves.
Like all dances of classical nature, the Odissi is also accompanied by singing in which people specialize and the compositions of Jayadeva and other poets are utilized for the purpose. In fact, the Oriya style of singing and the rendering of the poet’s songs is somewhat distinct and this has given birth to a style of some ragas and musical performance which are unique and special to Orissa.
Odissi dance has gained acceptance as a classical form while the Centre is expected to accord similar status to Odia soon. Odissi music too has been claiming such a tag since long.