Odissi is the classical dance of India. It is one of the oldest dances originated in India. Many old sculptures that of the dance have been found in Odisha. The Sun Temple at Konark has many such sculptures . It also follows the ancient text Natyashastra as other Indian classical dances. Its main difference from other Indian classical dances that it has independent movements of head, chest and pelvis(Tribhangi) .It also has distinct hand gestures. The dance is presented systematically in a specific order.
In earlier days this dance was performed by devadasis(Maharis) and by temple boys known as Gopituas in temples. The dance faced a decline during British rule.The dance was revived after independence by effort of dancers like Kelucharan Mahapatra,Pankaj Charan Das,Mahadev rout. Indian government encouraged the dancers to pursue the art. The literature used mostly comprises of Jayadev’s Astapadi. The accompanying music is Odisha music with specific ragas. The musical instruments used are madal, flute, manjira, sitar or violin.
The dancer is dressed in Odisha saree with traditional prints. She has special facial make up highligting the eyes and eyebrows. The ornaments used by the dancer are made of silver.The hair is made into a bun and special crown is placed and fitted.
Some of the famous dancers are