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Let's take a trip to ancient times in the eastern state of Orissa, India...for it is there that this major classical dance style is rooted. Out of the 8 classical dance forms of India, Odissi is celebrated around the world for its lyricism, flowing grace, and its emphasis on its attitude of devotion and surrender.

Based on archaeological evidence, there is a debate among scholars that the style originated sometime between the 2nd and 3rd century BCE, possibly making it one of the oldest forms of Indian classical dance!

Since its birth, one can understand that Odissi has seen the rise and fall of many civilizations--flourishing among royal courts and temples of various dynasties. Women known as Devadasis or temple dancers performed Odissi as part of their daily holistic rituals. 


Due to the socio-political and economic changes that took place after the 15th and 16th centuries AD (& onwards), what was once respected as a regal and holy art form was then pushed to the streets; during which time it was performed by Gotipuas (young males dressed as girls) as a form of entertainment with an added acrobatic flare.

As a result of such changes, the elegance, technique, and structure of the original form faded away in the pages of his/herstory for a period of time. It isn't until the late 1950s during which time Odissi makes a comeback and is officially recognized as a classical dance form. The revival of the form is heavily credited to scholars and gurus such as: Padmavibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra, Guru Pankaj Charan Das, and Guru Devaprasad Das, who studied temple carvings and scriptures to revitalize and restore the Odissi dance style from the Gotipua and Devadasi forms; a beautifully balanced union, which we are honored and privileged to observe, revere, and build upon in this modern age and time.

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