Odissi is the traditional and classical dance form of Orissa, the eastern state in India, and this art is predominantly performed at all Hindu temples by dancers. It is the show of beauty, grace and spirituality that is brought about by the elegant moves, footwork, eye movement, facial expressions and hand gestures that ooze out grace, which is the beauty of this classical Indian dance. It depicts stories related to mythological characters and Hindu Gods, especially Lord Jagannath, who is the most revered Hindu deity in the entire Indian state of Orissa, and elsewhere in India. So, this classical dance form is a wonderful expression of emotion and spiritual feeling, that is brought alive by the facial expressions of the female or male dancer. Next comes the attire and costumes that a female dancer wears during one such classical performance in the temples, that is simply ‘jaw dropping’. It is a colorful silk saree in bright colors and the makeup consists of floral decorations in a round pattern in the form of a crown on the back of the head, along with all the jewelry items. It is mostly a Sambalpuri silk saree or a Bomkai saree that the dancers adorns, while performing this classic art.
The Mudras, Moves & Costumes
The female dancer who performs this unique temple dance form, is soaked in spirituality and shows utter devotion to the Lord, which is clearly visible in her mudras, moves and facial expressions. This is typical of every Indian classical dance form, not just Odissi, which is associated with Hinduism, God and temples, wherein the dancer shows utmost devotion and spirituality while performing once such classical and devotional art form. The costumes and makeup that the dancer wears, are truly exquisite in appeal, with the use of kajal in the eyes, tika in the forehead, floral decorations in the hair and the Bomkai silk saree with pleats, which looks really gorgeous and colorful. She wears bangles, decorative waistband and a necklace, that definitely enhances her overall look. It is the colorful silk saree which is which makes the ambiance even more lively and spiritual. It is the precise footwork, dance steps, hand gestures and mudras or bhavas that beautifully tells a mythological story, especially of Lord Jagannath. If you get a chance to visit Bhubaneswar, Puri or the famed Konark Dance Festival, you can certainly witness the colors of life, that is brought about by this classical and traditional dance, which is a show of love to the Lord.