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Konark Temple

Odissi, or Orissi, is a Indian classical temple dance originating from the state of Orissa, India. Odissi is characterized by the fluid movements of the upper body (like the waves of the ocean on the shores of Puri) and the grace in handgestures (mudras) and wristwork (waving of the palms), alternating with firm footwork (symbolizing the heartbeat of Mother Earth).


Not entirely unimportant, Odissi can be recognized immediately by the Bhanga's (legpostures).

 The most wellknown are the Chauka and the Tribhanga.

Lord Jagganath

Chauka literally means square, which stands for the first completely stable body structure.


It represents Lord Jagannath (Krishna in Odiya folklore). Lord Jagganath brings stability to the Universe. Chauka reflects the balanced, all-encompassing and Universal quality of "Dharma".


The Chauka-bhanga is a basic Odissi posture in which the weight of the body is evenly distributed on both sides of the body. The heels face the center, the toes face outward, and there is a distance of about one foot between the two heels. The knees are turned out and the thighs are bended.

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The Tribhanga is best performed when one half of the lower body remains static along the central perpendicular, while the other leg usually crosses the first. Half of the body from the torso upwards bends in the opposite direction. The head or neck provides the third deflection of the body. The Tribhanga is achieved by a sharp deflection of the hip from the horizontal Katisutra and the head deflects to the same side as the hip. It is an ultimate feminine Bhanga that is reflected in sculptures of female figures and is based on the Hindu concept of iconography. The bends are made with the knees, torso and neck. This pose and the characteristic shift of the upper body from side to side make Odissi a dance style that is difficult to master.


The word Tribhanga literally means three bends. The human body is divided into three Bhangas along which deflections of the head, torso and hips can take place. The Tribhanga is one of the most typical postures of Odissi. This distinguishes Odissi from other Indian classical dances.


The dancer's body is divided into three parts in this Bhanga, making it graceful and sensual. The Tribhanga pose brings out all the feminine qualities. In this pose, the dancer's body can be soft, alluring, teasing, loving, inviting, sensual or maternal, depending on the mood within the dance item and the character being portrayed.


The weight in the Tribhanga pose is shifted slightly to the hip (on both sides), with the torso bended slightly to the other side, head bowed, one hand on the hip and the other on the other leg.

All classical Indian dance forms include pure rhythmic dances as well as acting/mimicking or storytelling dances.

The rhythmic dances of Odissi are called Batu/Sthayi (foundation), Pallavi (bloom) and Moksha (liberation). The acting/mimicking dances are called Abhinayas.

Although Abhinaya dance items encompass a range of emotions and mythologies, the eternal union of Radha and Krishna (as described in the Gita Govinda, written by Jayadeva) is central herein.

Gita Govindam

According to archaeological material, Odissi is the oldest temple dance in India dating back to the second century BC.

In the temples of Orissa, especially in the sun temple of Konark, all dance postures can be found in the sculptures.

When Odissi is performed, one can say that the templesculptures come to back to life.

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