Dances of India
|Offers complete information about Odissi, Odissi Dance, Classical Dances of India, Dances Of India, Indian Dances, Odissi Dance of India|
Odissi is a continued tradition of ancient ‘Odra Natya’, a music - synchronised dance that existed 2000 years ago. Its history is linked with the culture of Devadasis (dancing girls) attached to temple traditions of Orissa. When entire India was following the practice of Devadasis i.e. consecrating dancing girls in honour of Gods, Orissa remained not in exception. It started with the Shiv temples in Bhubaneswar as is known from the inscriptions of the Megheswar Temple (1045 – 1190 AD). Following the tradition were ‘Maharis’ attached to the Jagannath Temple at Puri by the Ganga rulers during early 12th cent. AD. Chodaganga Deva, a great patron of Art and music appointed a number of Devadasis for the ritual – services of the Lord. In 1435 AD Kapilendra Deva the ruler of Solar Dynasty regulated the services of the dancing girls and Prataprudra Deva as known from an inscription of July 1499 AD regulated the performance of dancing stating that the dancing girls were to dance and sing only from the Geeta-Govinda at the time of food-offering (Bhoga) in the Jagannath Temple. Ramananda Ray, the Vaishnavite minister of Prataprudra Deva being a master in dance, drama, music and poetry was to impart regular training on dance and drama to the Devadasis of the Jagannath temple. Dancing, though then was an art of honour was not confined to the Devadasis alone; even the princesses as evident from the commemorative inscriptions of the Ananta Basudeva Temple (1278 AD) at Bhubaneswar were admitted to dancing. This tradition had a setback due to political turmoil in Orissa during the end part of 16th cent. AD for a period of 300 years till the discovery of ‘Abhinaya Chandrika’ the code of Odissi Dance written in 15th Cent. AD was discovered by Sri Maheswar Mohapatra. During this period Devadasi tradition ceased to be respected and dances of ‘Gotipua’ and ‘Sakhipila’ (boys dressed as girls) came in its place to cater the fun loving public.
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