ODISSI DANCE over the years.
Scholars have dated the caves and carvings in odisha to be earlier than the Natyashastra,the book on Indian classical dance which speaks of regional varieties mentioning existence of Odra Magadha style identified as the earlier precursor of the Present Odissi Dance.
Odisha is fortunate in having two manuscripts which illustrates the dance style accurately. Abhinaya chandrika of Maheshwara Mahapatra where detailed study of various movements of the feet, hands ,standing postures, dance repertoire and acrobatic karana are potrayed.Geeta Govinda of the 8th century which gave place to vaishnavism,where Radha Krishna cult became the inspiration of performing Arts.The writings of the Gajapati emperor kapilendra,songs of Upendra bhanja and the innumerable lyrics composed by the writers of bhakti cult made a tremendous contribution to the literature of of odissi dancing.
The king of kalinga kept dancers as essential part of the temple rituals.The dancers were passed in the case of Mahari from mother to daughter and in the case of Gotipua from teacher to the dedicated boys,developing three schools of odissi over the centuries : Mahari, Nartaki and the Gotipua. After independence the revival reconstruction and popularisation of Odissi can be credited to dedicated scholars and dance enthusiasts who carefully researched manuscripts and studied the sculpture, painting and poetry of the region.,resulting in Odissi being one of the most graceful dance form today. It is distinguished from other school of dancing with its fluid body movements which includes the torso and two stances chowka (Square like posture) and Tribhangi(three bend in the body), making Odissi one of the most popular classical dance style.