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Explore the Elegance and Charm of Odissi Classical Dance

Explore the Elegance and Charm of Odissi Classical Dance

If you want to experience the beauty of Indian classical dance, then Odissi dance is the perfect dance form to explore. It is one of the classical dances of India that originated in the state of Odisha. The dance form is known for its intricate footwork, graceful movements, sculptural poses, and expressions that convey emotions and stories. In this article, we will explore the elegance and charm of Odissi classical dance.

The Origins of Odissi Dance

Odissi dance has its roots in the temple art forms of eastern India dating back to the 2nd century BC. Initially, it was performed in the temples of Lord Jagannath, Lord Shiva, and other deities. The dance form was revived in the mid-twentieth century by great gurus like Kelucharan Mahapatra and Guru Debaprasad Das.

The Elements of Odissi Dance

Odissi dance incorporates several elements that make it a unique dance form. The elements include:


Odissi dance makes use of mudras or hand gestures that help to convey stories and emotions. There are various mudras like Hamsasya, Ardhachandra, and Tripataka that are used in the dance form.


The footwork in Odissi dance is delicate yet complex. The dancer’s feet create intricate patterns on the floor, and the movements are graceful and fluid.

Body Movements

Odissi dance involves the entire body – from the head to the toes. The body movements include torso movements, hip movements, and sculptural poses.


Odissi dance is performed to traditional music that includes instruments like the mardala, sitar, flute, and tabla. The music sets the rhythm and mood for the dance.

Learning Odissi Dance

Learning Odissi dance requires dedication and practice. Beginners start with the basic steps and gradually move on to more complex movements. The training includes learning the mudras, footwork, body movements, and expressions. Gurus or teachers are an essential part of the learning process, and students learn from them through regular classes and performances.

Performances and Costumes

Odissi dance is performed in various settings, from temple courtyards to theaters. The costumes and makeup are an integral part of the performance. The dancers wear vibrant silk sarees, adorned with traditional jewelry, and apply elaborate makeup that includes bold eyes and red lips.

The Significance of Odissi Dance

Odissi dance is not just a beautiful dance form but also has significant cultural and religious importance. The dance is a form of devotion to Lord Jagannath, Lord Shiva, and other deities. It is also a way to preserve and showcase the rich cultural heritage of Odisha.


Odissi dance is a fascinating classical dance form that has a unique elegance and charm. From the intricate footwork to beautiful expressions and mudras, the dance captivates the audience and takes them on a journey of emotions and stories. The dance form has withstood the test of time and continues to inspire and entertain people across the world.


What is the dress code for Odissi Dance?

Ans: The dress code for Odissi Dance is a silk saree for women and dhoti-kurta for men.

What are some famous Odissi dancers?

Ans: Some famous Odissi dancers include Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Guru Debaprasad Das, and Sonal Mansingh.

How long does it take to learn Odissi Dance?

Ans: It typically takes several years of dedicated practice to become proficient in Odissi dance.

What is the significance of mudras in Odissi Dance?

Ans: Mudras or hand gestures are an integral part of Odissi dance as they help to convey stories and emotions.

Is Odissi Dance only performed in religious settings?

Ans: While Odissi dance has religious and cultural significance, it is also performed in theaters and other settings.

What is the role of a Guru in Odissi Dance?

Ans: A Guru or teacher plays a crucial role in teaching and mentoring students in Odissi dance.

What are some popular Odissi Dance performances?

Ans: Some popular Odissi Dance performances include Mangalacharan, Pallavi, Abhinaya, and Moksha.




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