The history of Odissi Dance is quite obscure. However some texts Mention That The Classical Odissi Dance was formerly called “Odra Nritya ” as The State of Odisha was named as “ Odra Desha ”. Bharata, the author of “ Natya Shastra” had named this style of dance as “ Odra Magadhi ” in his book but in later times “Abhinaya Chandrika ” an evidential book about dance, had named this form of dance as “Odra Nritya”. In 200B.C. the dancers used to dance in the Udayagiri caves near Bhubaneswar. Gradually in 1936 when the state got its own territory on the basis of odia language spoken, the name of this famous dance may have been got its present name as “ Odissi .”

Odissi dance was Originally a religious Dance Performed in the temple of Lord Jagannath in Puri by the      “ Mahari ” or 'servants of god'. After its revival in the early sixties, Odissi became one of the most popular among the classical forms of Indian dance. The quintessence of Odissi lies in its sculpturesque quality; most of its Beautiful poses bear close resemblance with the sculptures of the famous temples of Odisha which once nourished the art.

With its peculiar way of deflecting the hips in the characteristic pose called 'Tribhanga' or 'three Body Bend' and its fluidity and Swiftness of Body Movements, this Dance form is considered Most sensuous and lyrical. In this form of Dance it seems Eroticism and Spirituality blend together to overcome the sensuality of the Body and Merge into the Sublime. It comprehends in its repertoire both 'Nritta', or exercise of technical virtuosity, and 'Nritya' or expressive dance, which draws episodes from the great poems of Indian literature.


Odissi Dance is one of the distinguished forms of classical dances which can be differentiated from other schools of dancing by its elaborate grace and charm. The characteristic features of Odissi dance are its deflection of the hip, the stances like Chauka and Tribhanga (three –body- bend) arch wise designs of hand movement and rounded liquid body movement. It is full of sculpturesque poses known as Bhangis.


The performance of Odissi customarily begins with Mangalacharan - an expressional debut of offering prayer to Lord Jagannath, Lord Ganesh and other deities. In this performance, the dancer seeks the blessings of the Gods & Goddess, the Gurus and elders and the best wishes of the audience for an auspicious and flawless beginning.

This is a pure dance form of offering in honor of Lord Batuka Bhairava, one of the many forms of Lord Shiva. Batu Nrutya is marked for its sculpturesque poses. Uncanny rhythmic pattern is also worked out elaborately in different passages of this dance.

'Pallav ' means elaboration. It is another item of pure dance with movements of lyrical grace. It is based on a melody (Raga) which is soft, lighting and melodious. This is a beautiful dance passages run parallel with rhythmic syllables sung musically.

'Abhinaya' literally means to act and therefore it is an expressional dance. Here the songs are interpreted with hand gesture (mudra) and facial expressions depicting the emotions. The songs are mostly written in Sanskrit and Oriya by the famous composers of the medieval age.

Indian philosophy propounds that all human activities tend towards 'Mokshya' meaning 'salvation'. The pure dance of ecstasy that liberates the dancer towards this goal is known as Mokshya Nata. This is a fast paced rhythmic dance, which concludes the programme.

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