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Fall 2008

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Odissi Dance

Odissi Dance is the Indian Dance style from the state of Orissa, and is among the major styles of classical dances along with Bharata Natyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Odissi dancer Rekha Jena hand mudrasKuchipudi, Manipuri, Chhau and Mohiniattam. Odissi is said to date back to the 2nd century B.C., making it the oldest known classical Indian dance, as evidenced in the ancient sculptures depicting the poses unique to this style. DiBhanga, TriBhanga and Chowk poses are seen in the scuptures on the temple walls of Konarak, Bhubaneswar, and Puri in the State of Orissa.

Odissi is graceful, lyrical, and sensuous, and is generally performed to music playes by a small orchestra including pakhawaj (two-headed drum that pre-dates the tabla), finger cymbals, flute, violin, sitar and harmonium (hand-pumped organ), all played by musicians seated on thelamp pose floor. The dancer is barefoot and wears ankle bells which add to the music and emphasize the fancy footwork. The dress is a saree, or stitched from a saree, the traditional Indian draped cloth that forms a dress or is wrapped to form pantaloons.


Guru Surendra Nath Jena received the Sangeet Natak Akademy Award in 2007 from the President of India at a ceremony in Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi, India, and passed away in October of the same year. We are so glad that his lifetime achievement was recognized by this highest honor for artists in India before he left this world!
He was one of the foremost teachers or "gurus" of Odissi style Classical dance of India. Parvati Melissa Sproul-Singh, the founder of Ganesh Academy, studied with Guru S.N.Jena from 1975 to 2007.
 

Photo Left by : Avinash Pashricha                                                 
Photo Right by: Vikramjit Singh