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Dance Styles

Odissi

Odissi

Odissi was originally developed in the temples of Orissa, India, as a type of worship to Lord Jagannath offered by temple dancers, or maharis.  Odissi was also performed on the stage by young boys dressed in female costume, known as gotipuas.  Although Odissi has been practiced for centuries, it achieved its modern form only in the late 1950s, when the Jayantika, a group of scholars and gurus, formalized the Odissi vocabulary, relying on classical dance treatises and sculptures of dancers on ancient temples like the sun temple of Konark.  Odissi is a sophisticated and expressive art which features percussive footwork and undulating torso movements and often retells stories from Hindu mythology. While Odissi has moved from the temple to the stage, it retains its spiritual essence.


Kathak

Kathak

Kathak, a north Indian dance form, traces its origin to kathakars, ancient storytellers who would narrate stories from Hindu epics through dance, music, and gesture.  Under the influence of Mughal culture,Kathak was performed at royal palaces, where dancers refined the use of complex rhythmic patterns and dramatic mime. The technique of Kathak today is characterized by fast rhythmic footwork set to complex time cycles, gestures and expressions retelling stories of Radha and Krishna, fast pirouettes ending in statuesque poses, and a back and forth between the musicians and the dancers.  Lucknow, Banaras, and Jaipur are recognized as the three schools, or gharanas, of this art.


Mohiniyattam

Mohiniyattam

Mohiniattam originates from Kerala. The word Mohini means an enchantress who steals the hearts of those who see her. Mohiniattam, like other classical dance forms, originated in temples as a form of worship. Mohiniattam is performed only by women; as such, it focuses on lasya, or soft flowing feminine movements and sringar, or romance.









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