Odissi is a dance form which originated in the Eastern parts of India. The earliest evidence of this dance form is found in the 2nd centuary B.C. carvings in the Udaygiri and Khandgiri caves.
Odissi has its roots in the rich temple traditions of India and is based on devotion or bhakti as its foundation. Dance is considered as a sacred act and still is an important part of the daily temple rituals.
Odissi is said to be an art form preserved in stone. The dance is evocative of the temple sculptures of Konark and Bhubaneshwar. Odissi is characterised by extremely graceful and lyrical movements and the aesthetics of this dance form are erotic and sensual.
Like all other classical dance forms of India, Odissi is based on the ancient dance treatise of Natyashastra, but is also flavoured by regional scriptures such as the Abhinaya Chandrika and the Abhinaya Darpana.
In the pre independence era, Odissi had lost much of its original essence and was corrupted by colloquial elements. Odissi went through a renaissance when the Jayantika Association was formed in the late 1950’s. Spurred by a new influx of dedicated scholars, dancers and gurus, Odissi regained its original grandeur. This era saw a rebirth of Odissi as we know it today.
Odissi is a dance form which personifies grace, beauty, sensuality and bhakti.