Odissi, a traditional dance
form of Orissa, owes its origin to the temple dances of the Devadasis.
Based on the popular devotion to Lord Krishna and the verses of the
Sanskrit play Geet Govinda, it is a soft, lyrical classical dance which
depicts the ambience of Orissa and the philosophy of its most popular
deity, Lord Jagannath. Odissi has two major facets : Nritta or non
representational dance, in which ornamental patterns are created using
body movements in space and time; and Abhinaya, or stylized mime in
which symbolic hand gestures and facial expressions are used to
interpret a story or theme.
The technique of Odissi
includes the repeated use of the tribhangi, or thrice deflected posture,
in which the body is bent in three places the head, torso and knee
approximating the shape of a helix.