ODISSI (from Orissa, in eastern India): it is considered, based on archaeological evidence, one of the oldest forms of dance that survive today. It owes its origin to the temple dances of the Devadasi (temple dancers). Possibly it is the oldest classical dance form that exists in the country, with sculptures of the second century BC that reflect this style. Odissi is a joyful and spiritual dance, whose fundamental difference is more pronounced body curves, providing greater sensuality. While the shape is curved focusing on tribhang (dividing the body into three parts), mudras and expressions are similar to those of Bharatnatyam. There are two characteristic positions: Tribhangi and Chouka. Tribhang is the feminine pose, based on the classic concept of Hindu sculpture, wich is three curves or angles in the body: one on the knees, another at the waist, and the third in the neck. Chouk is male pose, with feet apart and pointing to the side, knees bent and arms extended to the side, at shoulder height, forearms projecting forward, palms down.
It is a lyrical and smooth dance, where the flowing lines are punctuated by pauses in which sculptural poses are adopted, representations that can be seen in the walls of some temples. This dance is performed through their own language with the positions of legs, head, eye and body movements, hand gestures, rhythmic footwork, jumps and spins. The Odissi performances are full of traditional pieces, some antique, when they were developed in temples as spiritual work, with Lords of the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, Lord Krishna. Others are the result of the Hindu sacred scriptures, poetry and epic stories; and finally there are modern pieces, fruit of inspiration from teachers, gurus and choreographers.