Orissa DancesWhen the talk is about the folk performances of India, Oriya dances truly deserve a special mention. Orissa has a rich cultural heritage in terms of music and dance. This is evident from the engravings of the figures of various dancers and musicians on the walls of its numerous temples. Though modifications have been made in the original Oriya dance, the people still love to learn its various forms. One of the unique features of the dances of Orissa is that they are regarded as a form of worship, a celebration of life as a gift from God.
Of all the traditional dances of the state, the most important as well as the most famous one is the Odissi dance. A classical dance form, it is very energetic and extremely graceful. The performance of this dance form requires delicate movements, figurative stances and expressive facial gestures. The most important pose of the Odissi dance is the Chauka pose, which has been based on the balanced figure of Lord Jagannath. It is said that Devdavis performed this dance in temples to mollify the Lord.
It was Gotipuas, the male Odissi dancers, who brought this dance out of the temple and in the public view. One can still found carvings depicting the Gotipuas form of Odissi dance and the picture of Odissi dancers on the walls of various temples in Orissa, such as Konark, Brahmeswar, etc. The state also boasts of a number of folk dances that seem to be a favorite amongst the tourists. The most popular amongst these is the Chhau Dance, a war dance that is based on the martial arts of the state and is performed only by men.
Other Folk Dances of Orissa
- Kathi Nacha (Stick Dance)
- Medha Nacha (Mask Dance)
- Naga Nacha (Snake Dance)
- Sakhi Nacha or Kandhei (Puppet Dance)
- Ghumra Nacha
- Mahari Nacha
- Jatra Nacha (Folk Theatre)