Edited by Alka Raghuvanshi; 144p., 4 Col. Illus., 203 Photos., Gloss., 29 cm.
CONTENTS:- Introduction; The birth of dance; History of Odissi dance; Lord Jagannath; Geeta Govinda; Mahari the temple dancer; The Gotipua; The decline of Odissi; The revival of Odissi; Aesthetics of Odissi; The architects and the Gurus; Dancers vehicles of expression.
Odissi also called the Dance of Gods is the intrinsically passionate style of dance that grew from the traditional temple dance. It has charm grace lyricism and sensuousness. In the words of the noted Hungarian Indologist Charles Fabri it is the most perfect Indian classical dance form. Classical dance is understood to be the synthesis of body and mind because it merges physical energy with emotional and spiritual enthusiasm. India has had many forms of classical dance which have flourished declined (under foreign influences) and been revitalized. Indian philosophy suggests that the realm of living and that of divine are one in essence and one way to affirm the underlying unity of the two is through dance. Lord Shiva of the Hindu Trinity of Gods is also called Nataraja or the Lord of dance. The presence of Oddissi dance in terms of archaeological evidence was found in the cave sculptures in the hills near Bhubaneswar in Orissa dating back to the first century BC. There have been vast changes in its physical form and its role in religion and society from one century to another its style and character have alternated under the influence of various religions and dynasties. All this has given Oddissi its distinct and sacred character blending sanctity with beauty and art with religion. Odissi the Dance Divine is a chronological survey of the form and style of the dance. The art form today known as Odissi is the descendent of the temple dance that evolved in the Jagannath Temple in Puri. Revered as one of the holiest places the temple was the centre of culture religion and artistic traditions. In the inner sanctum of this shrine was born the dance of the Mahari or temple dancer which became a tradition and finds expression in the Geeta Govinda that presents Odissi dance as a niti or lifestyle. The book explores the aesthetics of the dance which is a living tradition till today. Besides that it gives the readers a brief outline of the architects and contemporary Gurus of the dance and the eminent dancers who are in the forefront of the scenario.