project archives » 2008


Perspectives on the creation of odissi and its roots
as a spiritual discipline

The project focused on three vital ingredients of odissi, each of which contributed to the creation of this dance form after Indian Independence in Orissa: the folk gotipua tradition in villages around the pilgrim centre of Puri that provided odissi many bols and melodies; temple sculpture that inspired odissi's languorous body positions, and the symbiotic relationship odissi has with the yogic chakra system, which determines, albeit unconsciously, its movement grammar. Our warmest gratitude to Guru Hare Krishna Behera, Guru Banmali Maharana, Guru Keshab Rout, Guru Lingaraj Barik, Guru Maguni Jena, the late Guru Maguni Das and Shri Chittranjan Mallia for sharing their knowledge, experience and insights with us.

This is by no means a complete account of the creation of odissi; it is a presentation of our own areas of approach and work in progress. The project is part of an ongoing process of exploring the background to odissi in Orissa, to determine what constitutes the essential ingredients of living ritual art forms, and how this understanding can be used to forge new shape and form within the traditional framework of classical Indian dance. At each stage of the project, however, it has fed new ideas into the practical work we have been doing in composition, choreography, teaching and performance.

Research: Dr. Rekha Tandon          Videography: Michael Weston

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