The Odissi dance of Odisha (Orissa) is one of the six acknowledged
classical dance forms of India. Like all other Indian classical
dances, it also has its initiation in religion and philosophy with an
origin in the temples of Odisha (Orissa). The rhythm, Bhangis and
Mudras used in Odissi dance have a distinct style of its own. The
dance is performed mainly with the theme of Infinite love of Lord
Krishna and Radha.
Odissi closely follows the tenets laid down by the Natya Shastra.
Facial expressions, hand gestures and body movements are used to
suggest a certain feeling, an emotion or one of the nine rasas.
The techniques of movement are built around the two basic
postures of the Chowkand the Tribhanga. The chowk is a position
imitating a square - a very masculine stance with the weight of the
body equally balanced. The tribhanga is a very feminine stance where
the body is deflected at the neck, torso and the knees.
The torso movement is very important and is an unique feature of
the Odissi style. With the lower half of the body remaining static,
the torso moves from one side to the other along the axis passing
through the centre of the upper half of the body. Great training is
required for this control so as to avoid any shoulder or hip
movement. There are certain foot positions with flat, toe or heel
contact. These are used in a variety of intricate combinations. There
are also numerous possibilities of leg movements. Almost all leg
movements are spiral or circular, whether in space or on the ground.