Mangalacharna is an invocation to some God or Goddess after paying homage to Lord Jagannath. The meaning is brought out through the dance. Mangalacharna includes the 'bhumi pranam' and the 'trikhandi pranam' in front of the face to the gurus and front of the chest to the audience.
A recital begins with a Batu nritya, which presents the full scope of the Odissi Nritta technique. The dancer begins in chowka position at a slow rhythm, and the rhythm increases through a series of charis, bhangis and Karanas. In Batu nritya the dancer weave patterns on a given metrical cycle. The sequences resemble the paranas of Kathak and tirmanams of Bharatnatyam. This is followed by an invocation dedicated to the particular deity of the dancer's choice and is known as the 'ishta devata vandana.' Here the dancers choose Sanskrit or Oriya shlokas to present through movements many facets of a deity. Though it does have portions of pure dance in it can be described as a mime dance technically.
The dancer moves on to the svara pallavi where a melody is introduced which the dancer shows through movement. These may be combinations of sound patterns in a raga, just an illustration of the various notes of the musical scale. The svara pallavi is a pure Nritta number with an emphasis on Hastabhinaya. When it is executed in a very slow rhythm it is called alap. It can be executed in medium or fast pace too.
This is followed by gitabhinaya or sa-abhinaya Nritta. Here words are introduced and the poetic line is sung in a particular raga. The songs are compositions of poets like Upendrabhaj, Jayadeva, or Banmali Das. The dancer interprets the meaning of the words in various ways and tries to communicate the Sthayi bhava of the song. Each word is interpreted through the combined language of the hands, body and face. This gives the dancer full scope to present sancharibhavas and is similar to the abhinaya and padams of Bharatnatyam, the padams of Kathakali, and the bhajan or thumri of Kathak.
The subject-matter of sahitya to which the dance is performed is Vaishnavite, depicting man's yearning for God. The sakhi-bhava of the later Bhakti cult is seen here. A great dancer lifts the sensuous theme to mystical heights of dedication while an average dancer can present the sensuous aspects only. An Odissi recital ends on a note of abstract design. Here it is the tarajan which is similar to the Tillana of Bharatnatyam.
The dance drama is a part of the repertoire in Odissi which is longer than Abhinaya and performed by more than one dancer. Some of the much appreciated dance dramas composed by Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra are: Krishna Sudama, Sudama Dharitra Ritu Samhara, and many more. Hindu mythologies are chosen as themes, though improvisations have been done which has led to unique creations.
Repertoire is concluded with a recital called Moksha meaning spiritual liberation. Here the spiritual culmination of the dancer is represented. Movement and pose merge to create new patterns and designs in space and time. The upsurge of the dance is pleasing. The dance dissolves into Moksha finally.
However the repertoire of Odissi has witnessed some changes. It has been enlarged and many new compositions have been added, both in the Nritta and the abhinaya portions. Variety of svara pallavis have been composed in the Nritta portion and the final product is the Moksha nritya. Compositions of Tulsidas have been added in the abhinaya section.
(Last Updated on : 27-11-2010)
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