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Dance and Music of Orissa....definitely superb.


Like its excellent rich culture and vibrant tradition, dance and music of Orissa is also very charming, colorful and encompassing various types of tunes. The existing dance and musical tradition of Orissa is the cumulative experience of the last two thousand and five hundred years and can broadly be grouped under various varieties. Based on the practice and preparations, the music of Orissa are categorized into five sections. These are Folk music, Tribal music , Light Music , Light Classical music and Classical Music. Similarly The unique dance form of Orissa has contirbuted a lot to the classical dance , martial dance and typically traditional dance form of India .

Music of Orissa.

Mainly classified as five categories, the music of Orissa is really really superb. Life style, culture and social feelings are the integral part of Orissa's music.

Prepared for enjoyment and merry making the folk Music of Orissa is the treasure house of folk Songs, which are sung on different festivals and specific occasions . Folk music in general is the expression of the ethos and mores of the folk communities . Of the bewildering variety of folk music of Orissa, 'Kela Keluni Geeta', 'Dalkhai Geeta', 'Kendara Geeta', 'Jaiphula Geeta', 'Ghumura Geeta', 'Ghoda Nacha', 'Danda Nacha Geeta', 'Gopal Ugala' and 'Osa-Parva-Geeta' etc are famous.

The title Tribal Music signifies to the tribals living mainly in the hilly and jungle regions . They have their own tradition, culture and rituals and music is an integral part for symbolising these tradition and culture. Point is that tribal music of Orissa has its own significance . It is interesting to note that Orissa has the third largest concentration of tribes cof the total population. and they are distributed over 62 tribal communities.

The Light Music category of Orissa include varoius categories. Among them 'Sri Geetagovinda', 'Anirjukta Pravadha', 'Divya Manusi Prabandha', 'Chautisa', 'Chhanda', 'Chaupadi' (now known as 'Odissi'), 'Champu', 'Malasri', 'Sariman', 'Vyanjani and Chaturang.

Bhajan', 'Janan', Oriya songs based on ragas, 'Rangila Chaupadi' etc are grouped under Light classical music, which forms an important segment of Orissan music. Sound good this form of music has its own charm.

Classical Music 'Tribhang', 'Kuduka Geeta', 'Laxana' and 'Swaramalika' are the various sub-forms, which individually or collectively constitute the traditional Odissi music. These sub-forms of the traditional Odissi music can be categorised under the classical music of Orissa too.

The present form of traditional Odissi music is no doubt the outcome of the continuous evolution of the earliest Indian classical music. one may reasonably believe its inflow during the period of Aryanisation of this land. Possibly Aryan culture crept into this land during the Age of Brahmans when bulk of Indian peninsula came under the Aryan influence. Music tinged with religion, attained mass appeal and royal patronage. As such the royal patronization of Art and Culture made the Orissan music so developed and enchanting for enjoyment of both Gods and Goddesses and human beings as well. This tradition is still continuous in its different manifestations.

Dance of Orissa.


Among the different schools of dances in India , Orissa has a great contribution to the classical form of dance. Not only Classical world, extremly rich martial art and folk dance of Orissa has its significannt and uniquness world wide.

Odissi .

counted as the essence of the state of Orissa, Odissi dance is the highly inspired, impassioned, ecstatic and sensuous form of dance. Odissi was performed in the temples of Orissa as a religious rite and offering by the Devadasis known as 'Maharis'. Odissi is a rich and generous cultural gift of the land, well known for its dedication to religion and arts . The people of this land raised magnificent temples, each erected as an act of religious faith and embellished by the skills of master craftsmen, sculptures and architects. These temples became the centre of art and culture and it was here that Odissi, one of India's scintillating dance-forms was born, nurtured and nourished. In Odissi, the technique, the style, its stages, the repertoire and the finale were almost amorphous. Today Odissi is a well established and codified classical dance form of India, a dance of love, delight and intense passion, lyrical, pure, divine and human all rolled into one.

Animal Mask Dance .


Dancing with the tunes and wearing masks of animals are widely known as Animal Mask Dance. These form of dances are prevalent in village of south Orissa specially in the district of Ganjam. The three animal mask dances typical of the area are the tiger, bull and horse dances. Two persons get into cane frame and conceal themselves within it. Their legs become the legs of the animals and they perform dance .Particularly during Thankurani Yatra, when the idols are taken out on the streets, the animal mask dancers go on dancing before the procession. During the marriage ceremonies also they lead the bridegroom's procession all the way to the bride's house.

Baunsa Rani.

This is regarded as very typical and traditionl form of dance . Dancing with various acrobatic posture on a bamboo is called Baunsa rani dance. Literally means "The Bamboo Queen". Mainly little girls exhibit various acrobatic posture on the crossed bamboo bar as well as on the floor with exquisite scintillating movement synchronized with the beat of drums and songs. Attracting part is to move round in a folded form on the top of a single bamboo.

Chaiti Ghoda.

Horse dance in the month of Chitra is known as Chaiti ghoda Nacha . This folk items is connected with the Sakti cult of coastal Orissa confined to the people of Kaibarta caste only. This festival is observed by the Kaibartas in the month of Chaitra from the fool moon day to eight day of Vaisakha. This is in the honour of their caste deity Vasuli devi. A horse ridden man with the head of a horse well-dressed and trunk built of bamboo, dances to the tune of Dhola and Mahuri accompanied by songs composed by the local poets. The dancing party consists of two dancers, one male and one female, a drumer and a piper. The origin of this dance goes back to the hoary past. The horse dance is very popular and attracts a large audience.

Changu Dance .

The Changu dance derives its name from a kind of drum called Changu, which invariably accompanies the dance. This dance is common to almost all the tribes but is more popular among the Bhuyans. The peculiar feature of the dance is that the men confront the girls with music and song and then recede backwards when the girls confront them. The girls dance standing in a row generally holding each other’s hand.

Chhau Dance .


Orissa has earned name and fame in the international arena for its famous martial Chhau dance. This variety of dance is prevalent in the princely states of Mayurbhanja, Nilagiri and Sareikala . This dance is performed exclusively by men. The origin of Chhau dance is shrouded in obscurity and no historical document in this context has yet been recovered. Etymologically, Chhau is derived from the Sanskrit word 'chhaya' which means a mask . It is alos told that Chhau is an independent colloquial Odissi word, meaning to attack or hunt stealthly. It is evidently a war dance. The steps and movements, the attack and defence, the performers, each holding a sword and shield, dividing themselves into two parties, the drums and their mode of play, the huge kettle drum known as 'Dhumusa' a must in the orchestra, its reverberating powerful beats energizing the dancers, all signify that Chhau dance is unmistakably originated from marital practices.

Dalkahi Dance.

Dalkhai the most popular folk-dance of western Orissa. Its performance is very common on all other festivals such as Bhaijauntia, Phangun Puni, Nuakhai etc. This is mostly danced by young women of Binjhal, Kuda, Mirdha, Sama and some other tribes of Sambalpur, Bolangir, Sundargarh and Dhenkanal districts of Orissa . In this form od dance , men join them as drummers and musicians. The dance is accompanied by a rich orchestra of folk music played by a number of instruments . However, the Dhol player controls the tempo while dancing in front of the girls. It is known as Dalkhai because in the beginning and end of every stanza the word is used as an address to a girl friend. The love story of Radha and Krishna, the episodes from Ramayana and Mahabaharata, the description of natural scenery are represented through the songs. The young women dance and sing intermittently. The women generally dress themselves with the colourful Sambalpuri Sari and wear a scarf on the shoulders holding the ends below in both the hands. Bedecked with traditional jewelry their robust framers sustain the strains of the dance for long hours.

Other Dances of Orissa.


There are other several form of dances which have its own uniquness. Danda Nata of Orissa, also known as the 'Danda Jatra' happens to be one amongst the most ancient ofrm of dance . This is still parctised in the devotion of god. Dasakathia is also a colourful and popular performance is rendered by two members, one signer (Gayaka) and the other acccompanist. Ghanta Patua is alos another form of dance. In the whole month of Chaitra the village streets in Orissa reverberate with the sound of Ghanta Patua . Ghanta means a form of musical instrument is used rythimically with dance. Ghoomra is also a typical drum. It is just like a big pitcher with a long stem made of clay. With the tune of this instrument , the dance performed is called Ghoomra dance. Similarly the dance form Jhoomar is named after the accompanying Jhoomar songs is prevalent among the Mahanta and Mundas of tribal communities. Kathinacha or Stick dancing is also common all over India. In Orissa they are of two varieties . Kela Keluni dance is another unique form of dance . Here Kelas are a nomadic class of people in Orissa. Krishna Leela is a separate form of dance . It is also associated with the cult of Krishna leela has a deep religious flavour. Medha Nacha is a form of mask-dance and most common during the religious processions in the coastal districts of Orissa. The most virile and spectacular dance during the religious processions in the district of Puri is known as Naga Dance. Puppets dance known as Kandhei or Sakhi Nata, a rare and unusual type of stylised indigenous drama and popular in many parts of Orissa. Rama Leela, a very popular theatrical performance of Orissa as elsewhere in India. Ranappa Popular among the coastal areas of Ganjam district, this dance receives its name after the bamboo stick with the feet.


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