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23 Facts About Odissi
Odissi is traditionally a dance-drama genre of performance art, where the artis and musicians play out a story, a spiritual message or devotional poem from the Hindu texts, using symbolic costumes, body movement, abhinaya (expressions) and mudras (gestures and sign language) set out in ancient Sanskrit literature.
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Odissi is learnt and performed as a composite of basic dance motif called the Bhangas.
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Traditional Odissi exists in two major styles, the first perfected by women and focussed on solemn, spiritual temple dance; the second perfected by boys dressed as girls (gotipuas) which diversified to include athletic and acrobatic moves, and were performed from festive occasions in temples to general folksy entertainment.
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Odissi was performed in the temples by the dancers called Maharis, who played out these spiritual poems and underlying religious plays, after training and perfecting their art of dance starting from an early age, and who were revered as auspicious to religious services.
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The Odissi performing Maharis combined pure dance with expression, to play out and communicate the underlying text through abhinaya.
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The talas used in Odissi dance are Ekatali, Khemata, Rupaka, Tripata, Jhampa, Jati Tala, Adatali, Matha, Aditala, Sarimana, Kuduka and others.
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Distinctive part of the Odissi tradition is the inclusion of Moksha finale in the performance sequence.
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The foot movement or pada bhedas too have basic dance units, and Odissi has six of these, in contrast to four found in most classical Indian dances.
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The saree worn by Odissi dancers are brightly coloured, and usually of local silk.
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The primary Odissi ragas are Kalyana, Nata, Shree Gowda, Baradi, Panchama, Dhanashri, Karnata, Bhairavee and Shokabaradi.
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Odissi dance, states Ragini Devi, is a form of "visualized music", wherein the Ragas and Raginis, respectively the primary and secondary musical modes, are integrated by the musicians and interpreted through the dancer.
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Each note is a means, has a purpose and with a mood in classical Indian music, which Odissi accompanies to express sentiments in a song through Parija.
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Odissi tradition existed in three schools: Mahari, Nartaki, and Gotipua:.
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Odissi introduced Mudra Vinyoga in 1955 and Sancharibhava in the Odissi dance items, and portrayed Shringara Rasa in Gita Govinda Ashthapadis.
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Odissi has been included in Indian Institute of Technology Bhubaneswar's BTech syllabus since 2015 as the first Indian national technical institute to introduce any classical dance in syllabus.
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