Odisha may be a state in the eastern part of India. It’s located near the water body Bay of Bengal. This state is popularly known for its rich cultural heritage, mainly its tribal culture and ancient Hindu temples and vistas. But the splendor of Odisha is just restricted to its vistas, temples, and sacred shrines. It’s much more and larger than life. The state is home to several of the most popular dance forms. There is a plethora of folk dance of Odisha.
Folk dances are basically regional dance forms indigenous to the state. The dance forms that originated here are a delight and delightful spectacle for artists and audiences, both.
The serenading music takes you to a special world. The dance steps poses and movements are swift and graceful. The apparel donned by the dancers is bright and full of colors. The folk dances of Odisha are truly appealing to the eyes and ears. So, let’s dive into this world of folk’s dance and know more.
Famous Folk Dances of Odisha:
1. Bhaagha Naacha
Also referred to as Tiger Dance. This is often a Sambalpuri folk dance which generally performed in Binika and Sonepur of Subarnpur district of Odisha. A dance form performed only by males, the performers paint their bare body with yellow and black stripes during a fashion like that of a tiger and attach a tail.
Few dancers move from one household to a different one to attract the attention of the public and then begin their dance. The dance form makes use of drum and bell instruments to supply music. The dance form is an acrobatic style based and dancers make hissing noises to imitate a tiger’s nose.
2. Goti Pua
Goti means ‘ one ‘ or ‘single’ and pua means ‘ boy’. This dance form is performed by boys dressed up as girls. Gotipua dance is an adaptation of Odissi Dance. It originated within the wake of the disapproval of some of the followers of the Vaishnav religion (Sect of Hindu which considers Vishnu as the leading deity) who were dissatisfied with dancing by women as a pretext for worship.
Hence, they introduced dancing by boys dressed up as girls. The dancers are students of ‘ akhada’ or gymnasia. It had first established by Ramchandra deva in Puri. The boys start their training from the young age of six and perform till they are fourteen. These young boys are ready to perform swift movements and perform flexible dance moves as their bodies can adapt more.
Initially, they’re trained for two years and then they taught other elements such as items of dance, ornamental and expressional. They’re accompanied by three musicians who play cymbals, harmonium and pakhawaj. Songs were sung by the performers themselves but sometimes a singer accompanies them.
This is often a Sambalpuri folk dance. It’s performed during celebrations and festivals such as Dussehra, Bhaijiuntia, Phagun Puni, Nuakhai and lots of others. It’s performed by women of various tribes of Sambalpur, Balangir, Bargarh and Nuapada districts.
It’s named so because at the beginning and end of every stanza, the word is employed to address a lover or girlfriend. It’s a celebration of love. Young women are dancers who are elaborately dressed, and men join them as musicians. Dalkhai dance form portrays instances and scenes from the romance of Radha and Krishna, Ramayana, and Mahabharata.
It’s a team effort and involves forward, and backward movement during a half-sitting position, the formation of concentric circles clockwise and anticlockwise. The dance is amid rich orchestra music produced by dhol, Nisan, Tamki, Tasa and Mahuri instruments. The countryside music leaves a ringing and soothing essence within the ears.
Women donn in brilliantly colored Sambalpuri sarees and tie a shawl around their shoulders holding the ends in both their hands. Traditional pieces of jewelry are an element of traditional attire as well.
This genre has several versions for different ages and groups: – For girl children- Chhiollai, Humobauli and Dauligit. For teenagers- Sajani, Chhata, Daika and Bhekani For youth- Rasarkeli, Jaiphul, Maila Jada, Bayamana and Gunchikuta.
A martial arts-based dance form, it’s one of the most popular art forms. During this dance, there are two groups of warriors who attack and defend themselves alternately and during this process demonstrate vigorous movements and poses.
The dancers carry shields with them. It’s a dance battle. The performers wear colorful masks portraying a personality in the battle- drama.
The music is robust and has constant rhythmic changes. The instruments used are Mahuri which may be a double-reeded instrument, Dhola which may be a barrel shaped two-sided drum, Dhumsa a hemispherical drum and Chadchadi, a brief cylindrical drum. A lively dance form that makes the audience want for more.
5. Ghumura Dance
Also called Ghumra Dance, this dance form features a rich history. it’s depicted in the Sun temple of Konark which proves that it has been since medieval times. it had been initially a war dance and considered ‘ Heroic dance’.
Gradually, it’s transitioned into a dance for cultural and social purposes. The instruments used are Dhol, Taal, Madal and Nishan. It stands out as a logo of love, devotion, universal brotherhood, and fraternity. it’s a beautiful dance form that has been showcased at the national and international levels.
Folk Music Instruments of Odisha:
The Mardala is employed in a wide range of traditional art forms of Odisha, including Gotipua, Mahari, Odissi dance, Bhagabata Tungi, Sakhi Nata, Prahalad Nataka, Ramlila, Krusnalila, Rama Nataka, Sahi Jata, Medha Nacha, Bharata Lila, Bhutakeli Nata, Odissi Kirtana and more.
It consists of animal products stretched over a wooden base. The membrane vibrated with two long wooden sticks. it’s usually played in marriage processions and on other festive occasions.
The Mahuri may be a traditional wind instrument belonging to the state of Odisha, India. it’s considered a Mangala Bādya meaning ‘auspicious instrument’ and hence, is usually a part of music arrangements during marriages, though it’s often found in folk theatres like Rama Nataka and dances like Chhau too.
4. Gochi Baja
The Gochi Baja may be a traditional percussion instrument belonging to the state of Odisha. it’s considered auspicious and usually played in marriage processions.
The Kenderā is an ethnic musical instrument ritually used by ascetics of the nātha sect while gathering alms. (That is why most of their surnames are Nath) it’s normally made of a coconut shell on which the skin of a monitor lizard has stretched. A bamboo stick is employed as the bow for the instrument. Its sonorous music paired with ancient mournful tunes and a pointy voice can move people to tears.
The Ghanta (‘t’ as in ‘Tomato’) may be a metallic gong used as a percussion instrument. The artists called ghantuās after the instrument. It takes center stage during the majestic Ratha Jatra of Puri during which hundreds of ghantuas play the instrument in a synchronized beat with fervor, dramatically swinging their torsos back and forth.