Odishi Dance

Like other forms of Indian classical dance, the odishi style traces its origins back to antiquity. Dancers are found depicted in bas-relief in the hills of Udaygiri (near Bhubaneshwar) dating back to the 1st century BC. The Natya Shastra speaks of the Dance from this region and refers to it as Odra-Magadhi.

Over the centuries three schools of odishi dance developed: Mahari, Nartaki, and Gotipau. The Mahari tradition is the devadasi tradition; this is the use of women who are attached to deities in the temple. The Nartaki tradition is the school of odishi dance which developed in the royal courts. Gotipua is a style characteristed by the use of young boys dressed up in female clothing to perform female roles.