Music and dance are core aspects of retellings of the Ramayana. As part of the Hero's Journey Project, ORIAS contributors interviewed dancer and choreographer, Jyoti Rout. Footage of the dance she choreographed and performed for ORIAS, the Navarasa, has been lost. However, comments from her interview can help unfamiliar viewers interpret performances.
On The Classical East Indian Temple Dance of Orissa
Odissi is an ancient, breathtakingly beautiful form of sacred dance, which was originally developed in the temple of Jagannath in Orissa, East India, as a form of worship and meditation. It was first encountered outside the temple in the early part of the sixteenth century. A class of tender aged dancers known as Gotipuas began performing Odissi for the masses to convey the spiritual stories, while the Maharis (temple dancers) continued the tradition within the temples. Odissi is an expressive and sophisticated art form, which features poetic nuance and fanciful storytelling. Highly stylized in nature, it utilizes powerful, energetic footwork (tandava), juxtaposed with sinuous, graceful feminine postures and movements (Lasya). Handed down from teacher to disciple for thousands of years, Odissi emphasizes, and in fact, centers around spirituality and devotion. - Jyoti Rout