5 Native Dance Forms Of Odisha

Most of us instantly relate the classical dance form Odissi to the state of Odisha. Certainly, witnessing an Odissi dance performance is stupendous but there exist many other folk dance forms in the state, that are equally spectacular.

From an enormous list, we bring to you five of the most amusing and breathtaking dance forms that originated in Odisha – a state which is culturally rich and diverse.

1. Mayurbhanj Chhau

Mayurbhanj Chhau Dance

A semi-classical dance form aimed at portraying folk, martial, mock war, and tribal stories. It is said to have originated from Mayurbhanj district and constitutes an integral part of celebrations during Chaitra Parva and Durga Puja. Similar styles are also performed in the states of Jharkhand (Seraikella Chhau) and West Bengal (Purulia Chhau) and have been coined after the places they are enacted.

Masks are an essential part of this dance as it enables the performers to express the emotions and essence of the character.

2. Gotipua

Gotipua Odisha Dance

Believed to have emerged from the famous city of Puri in the 16th century, this dance is performed by prepubescent single (goti) boys (pua), dressed as females – praising Lord Jagannath and Lord Krishna while displaying gymnastics and yogic postures.

It is also believed to be the precedent of the Odissi dance form.

3. Ghumura

Ghumura Odisha Dance

Emanating from the Kalahandi district of Odisha, Ghumura is a unique dance form exhibiting both classical and folk style. Dancers wearing tribal costume use Ghumura (a pitcher of clay as a drum) for their dance which can be marked by various classical mudras.

In modern times, Ghumura is usually performed during the festivals of Nuakhai and Dussehra.

4. Dalkhai

Dalkhai Dance Odisha

One of the most popular folk dance of Sambalpur, this dance form is dedicated to Radhe-Krishna, Ramayana, and Mahabharata where young women (Dalkhai) wearing Sambalpuri sarees and a scarf on their shoulders, stand in a queue and dance on Dalkhai songs while men participate as the orchestra.

It is performed on numerous occasions like Nuakhai, Dussehra, Bhaijiuntia, Phagun Puni etc.

5. Paika Nrutya

Paika Nrutyatikanrutya Odisha Dance

Depicting the strength and courage of Paika (a warrior), this folk dance is performed by men holding a sword and shield in their hands, demonstrating war techniques on the beats of dhol. It is a battle dance with a prominent history behind it.

This dance form is still performed in the Khurda district and other Paika villages during Dussehra.