Description: The costumes in Odissi dance are vibrant and elaborate, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Odisha. Adorned in beautifully woven sarees, embellished blouses, and intricate filigree silver jewelry, the dancers create a visual spectacle that enhances the grace and storytelling of the dance form.
Odissi dance, a classical and traditional dance form from the eastern part of India, specifically Odisha, has a rich history and culture that has evolved over time. Known for its grace and sensuality, Odissi dance focuses on three main regions of body movements: the head, the chest and the pelvic region. Like all Indian dance forms, Odissi dance requires specific costumes, jewellery, and makeup that contribute to the overall visual appeal and aesthetics of the performance.
Significance of Costumes in Odissi Dance
The costumes in Odissi dance hold great significance as they play a crucial role in enhancing the visual appeal and narrative expression of the dance form. The costumes not only contribute to the aesthetic beauty of the performance but also help in portraying the cultural heritage and traditional values associated with Odissi dance.
The vibrant colors, intricate designs, and traditional weaves showcased in the costumes reflect the artistic traditions and history of the region. They create a visually captivating spectacle for the audience, making the performance engaging and immersive. Odissi dance often involves storytelling and the portrayal of various characters, mythological figures, and deities. The costumes help in distinguishing and portraying these characters effectively. Each character may have a specific costume design, color palette, and ornamentation that signify their identity, emotions, and role in the narrative.
The costumes in Odissi dance carry symbolic meanings and cultural significance. The choice of colors, motifs, and patterns in the costumes often represents specific themes, moods, or aspects of Odissi dance tradition. The costumes are also designed to facilitate and accentuate movements in the Odissi dance form. The flowing sarees and pleated fabrics allow for elegant extensions, swirls, and intricate footwork.
Similarities and Differences
The Odissi dance costumes bear similarities to those of the traditional Bharatanatyam costume, yet they possess their own unique charm and character. The female dancers wear the resplendent patta saree, a nine-yard silk saree that drapes gracefully around their bodies. The saree is usually adorned with traditional prints and shiny embellishments, adding to its visual appeal. The accompanying blouse, known as the kanchula, is either black or red. The front pleat of the saree, called the Thallaippu, adds a touch of richness and vibrancy to the overall ensemble.
One distinctive feature of the Odissi dance costume is the nibibhanda, an apron-like silk cloth tied around the waist like a frill. This unique element enhances the visual effect of the leg movements, adding dynamism to the performance. The waistband, known as the jhobha, is a length of cord with tasseled ends, completing the traditional look.
Odissi Costume for Female Dancers
Women Odissi dancers typically wear a patta saree, a brightly colored silk saree that is nine yards long, along with a black or red blouse called the kanchula. The blouse is embellished with diverse stones, gold, and silver threads. Additionally, an apron-like silk cloth called the 'nibibhanda' is tied from the waist, resembling a frill worn around the legs. The waistband, known as the jhobha, is a length of cord with tasseled ends. It is worth noting that the kanchula of the Gotipuas (young male dancers) differs from that of female dancers, as does the draping style of the patta saree in Odissi dance. The richly embroidered blouse is referred to as 'Komchila,' and the decorative headpiece is made from styrofoam, shaped like flowers, and often includes a temple-shaped projecting structure.
Hairstyles play an essential role in Odissi dance, with three distinct styles. The ardh-bathaka or semicircular bun, the pushpa-chanda with the hair coiled into the shape of a flower, and the kati-beni, which is a single plait down the back. Additionally, an elaborate design is often made on the forehead with a vermilion mark in the center. The eyes are adorned with kohl, and a small mark is applied to the chin. It is important to mention that some contemporary Odissi dancers deviate from the authentic costumes and ornaments, opting for more modern interpretations.
Filigree Silver Jewelry in Odissi Dance
Elaborate filigree silver jewelry pieces are integral to Odissi dance. These intricate ornaments, known as Tarchasi, are made of "thin wire" and require high craftsmanship. This traditional craft dates back more than 500 years and is traditionally done by local artisans from the eastern shores of Odisha.
The jewelry pieces, including the tikka (forehead ornament), allaka (headpiece), ear covers in intricate shapes resembling peacock feathers, jimkis (bell-shaped earrings), necklaces, and bangles, adorn various parts of the dancer's body. The ornaments are often festooned with natural un-cut stones lined with gold and reflect the intricate designs seen on deities in South Indian temples. Musical anklets known as ghungroos, made of leather straps with small metallic bells attached to them, are wrapped around the ankles. The dancer's waist is adorned with an elaborate belt, and her feet and palms are adorned with red-colored dyes called alta.
Exquisite Crown of the Odissi Dancer
The crown worn by Odissi dancers is known as the mahkoot. It is exquisitely made in Puri, a devotional city in eastern Odisha. The mahkoot is crafted from dried reed called sola using a technique called sola kama. The reed is engraved with cuts to create various flower shapes, which blossom into jasmines, champas, and kadamba when a cord is tied in the middle and stretched. The mahkoot consists of two parts: the ghoba and the thiya. The flower-decorated back piece, known as the ghoba, sits around the dancer's hair bun, representing the lotus flower with a thousand petals, which symbolizes the head chakra or energy center. The longer piece emerging from the center of the back piece is called the thiya, depicting either the temple spire of Lord Jagannath or the flute of Lord Krishna.
Odissi Costume for Male Dancers
Male Odissi dancers wear a dhoti, which is neatly pleated in the front and tucked between the legs, covering the lower body from the waist. The upper body remains bare, showcasing the male dancer's physique. A waist belt completes the ensemble.
In terms of makeup, Odissi dancers follow a traditional approach. White face paint is applied to achieve a polished and uniform look. A red bindi, symbolic of auspiciousness, is prominently placed on the forehead, often surrounded by a pattern made from sandalwood. The eyes are accentuated with kajal, and dark, bright lip colors such as red or maroon are used to enhance the facial features.
Costumes in Odissi dance are not merely adornments but integral elements that contribute to the authenticity, visual appeal, and narrative expression of the dance form. They serve as powerful symbols of cultural heritage, character depiction, and artistic expression.