About Odissi Classical Indian Temple Dance

carvings of odissi dancers on the konark sun temple outside of puri, orissa

carvings of odissi dancers on the konark sun temple outside of puri, orissa

Odissi Classical Indian Temple Dance is one of the most ancient dance forms known in the world going back nearly 2,000 years. It has only recently been codified into a classical dance form over the last century. Originally Odissi dance was only performed in the Jugannath and Krishna temples of Orissa, India. It was danced by an auspicious group of women known as Devadasis, which literally translates to 'servants of God'. These women were considered auspicious because at a young age they were dedicated to the temple where they became the wives of Lord Jugannath, and could never be widowed as a result. They performed dance and song solely for their God, except on auspicious holy days when the Deity would be marched out of the temple and through the streets, where they would follow him into the public's eye. Through multiple invasions and occupancies this sacred dance form was nearly lost. We owe it to three primary choreographers; Sri Kelu Charan Mohapatra, Sri Pankaj Charan Das, and Sri Debaprasad Das to have formed the three main lineages of Odissi dance by codifying it into a classical dance form. Through their observation of postural temple carvings, studies of the last living Devadasis, and choreographing of hundreds of dances in their time, Odissi dance is now a burgeoning art form that is blossoming on stages across the world.

Odissi is a dance of grace, beauty, power and most importantly, devotion. It is yogic in origin, with it's postures and mudras opening the bodies energetic pathways; and subtle movements activating the primary energy centers, or chakras. Odissi is an exquisitely postural dance form, which harmonizes masculine and feminine energies in the body through the strong footwork softened by flowing torso, wrist and eye movements. It is a dance of expression, where the dancer literally embodies different deities and archetypal energies through Bhava, or emotion. Odissi, in it's highest expression, is a Bhakti (devotional) yoga with the goal to lead us into the light of Moksha (liberation) through our seamless merging with the Divine.

The Jugannath Temple in puri, orissa where the devadasis performed their daily rites

                                                Study Odissi with Shakti Temple Arts

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Shakti Temple Arts offers weekly classes, introduction workshops, multiple day intensives and private lessons in Odissi Temple Dance. Classes and workshops teach the foundational stepping practice of Odissi dance, as well as mudras, foot positions, postures, theory and history. Choreography is available in longer intensives and private lessons.

Odissi dance is a powerful way to build strength, balance, coordination, memory, and devotion through the embodiment of beauty. It is a deep path to exploring our own Divinity through the embodiment of Hindu Deities, expression of Bhava (emotion) through dance, and dedication of practice to Lord Jugannath (and essentially the Divine beyond form). It is a profound radiance practice with deep roots in tradition, Temple life, and way of being many of our souls long for, and even remember on a cellular level. 

Stay tuned for upcoming opportunities to deepen with this divine dance form! To bring these arts closer to you, feel free to invoke us for workshops and offerings in your area!



Odissi Performance by Shakti Temple Arts

Shakti Temple Arts is available for booking for events as a soloist, and also for group performance with the dance company Dakini Rose Devadasi, directed by Monique Trinity Rose. Performance history includes many festivals on the West coast of the US, such as Symbiosis Festival and Pranafest; sacred dance events such as Rebirth of the Devadasi, in Ashland, OR; Anahata in Portland, OR, andkirtan events at various yoga studios in Oregon, California, and Idaho. Odissi Temple Dance is a potent offering of Indian tradition deeply rooted in breath-taking beauty and devotion, evoking profound emotion and presence from dancer and audience alike.

It is an honor to bring this sacred art to you! Please contact Shakti Temple Arts for booking details and information, and stay tuned for upcoming performances and events! Fill out the form below for inquiries about bookings:

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