Latest Concert

Odissi by Joyoti
Venue: Upper Yarra Arts Centre

Date: Saturday 10th April, 2010
Time: 8pm start

    Full - $24
    Concession - $20

Odissi Workshop
Venue: Upper Yarra Arts Centre

Date: Friday 9th April, 2010
Time: 12pm-4pm

    Cost - $30

The School Students

Deep in the misty distances of time Odissi evolved in the sanctified dance halls in the temples of Orissa, a state on the north-eastern coast of India, and is considered one of the oldest in India. Sculptural evidences prove its prevalence in 2nd Century BC. Orissa has been called the land of temples and it was these temples which were the centers of art and culture as well as religion, where the dance took shape and grew. Dedicated danseuses locally known as Maharis, performed it for centuries as an essential item of the temple rituals. As such Odissi is in essence a dedicatory dance, but the Bhakti-cult (devotion) gave it a spiritual dimension heightening its aesthetic appeal.

In style Odissi is a marvelous balance of crisp footwork enhanced by the soft flow of the upper portion of the body. It is characterized by the flexible motif of ‘Tribhanga’, the three bodily bends of head torso and legs. The first bend is caused by the crossing of legs, the second by a curvature at the waist and the third by an inclination of the head to one side. This is esteemed the most amatory and graceful of dances.

In Odissi every aspect of the dance is governed by the ‘sastras’ (grammar). All its poses, steps and movements have been classified and codified. With flashes of heightened dramatization, the ‘bhava’ (emotion) is chaste and orthodox.

Perhaps the following few lines written in adoration of Lord Jagannath qualifies the beauty of Odissi

From the temple facades
Those graceful forms,
Their beguiling smiles,
Their indolent charms -
Their stances, their bends,
Their postures, their poses ...
The unknown Sculptor’s hand,
The Odissi Dancer’s form!