Oddissi is one of the oldest classical dance forms of India. It was born in the temple of Lord Jagannath in Puri in oddissa which was always the centre of art, literature and culture in the Eastern India. The dance evolved through devdasis in the temple called Mhari and the boys called ‘Geeti yuwan’ who danced in female dress.
It is a solo dance conforming to the roles of ‘Natya Shastra’ and ‘Shilp Shashtra’ and is performed in the following six stages :
- The dance begins with bowing to earth and prayer to’ Vighnaraj’ by singing ‘Mangalacharan’ and dancing on it.
- The second stage is ‘Batunritya’ which initially performed at slow pace using ‘Chads’, ‘Bhangimas’ and ‘Karans’ and is speeded up gradually.
- After Batunritya, prayers are offered to the Lord which are taken from Sanskrit or Oriya literature.
- Next stage is called ‘Pallavi’ in which Hastaks (hand gestures) are demonstrated according to the music.
- After ‘Swar Pallavi’, next stage is ‘Abhinaya’ which is similar to ‘Padm’ in Bharat Natyam or performance of Thumri in Kathak. Expression through eyes is of much importance in ‘Abhinaya’
- The performance is concluded with ‘Tarjan’ which is somewhat similar to Tarana of Kathak or Tillana of Bharatnatyam involving demonstration of ‘Swar’ ‘Tal’ and ‘Nrit’ in which, pace is continuously increased and dance reaches its climax.
Costume: The women wear silk sari with a ‘Lang’ whose spread hangs in the front. They wear a waistband of silver, most of the ornaments are made of silver the hairs are arranged in a round knot and adorned with buds of pearls.