Female Dancers

Photo  1998, David J. CapersAlthough the earliest historical evidence of the dance style comes from the Jaina caves of King Kharavela (2nd century B.C.), it is not until 6th century A.D. that we find extensive iconographical evidence of the peculiar style of dance known as Orissi, with the deflected hip, tilted head, and rounded arm positions. Inextricably linked with the religious movements of Orissa, Orissi shows traces of Buddhism, Tantrism (Buddhist and Brahmanical), Saivism, and Vaisnavism, not only in the figures depicted but also in the messages conveyed. From its earliest evidence, Orissi was a dance performed by women, whether in court or in the temple.

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