Dasakathia is a colourful dance form prevalent in Orissa. The name Dasakathia is derived after the word ‘Das’ which means worshipper and ‘Kathi’ means two pieces of sticks which produce a very sweet sound.
Dasakathia is performed by two members, one singer (Gayaka) and the other accompanist (Palia). Each performer hold a pair of sticks and begin the dance in chorus with invocatory verses composed by local poets, each one striking his own sticks in perfect tune. The verses are mainly based on mythological themes, sung in a manner that mesmerizes the listeners. The dance is less musical but more dramatic, comprising verbose stanzas of various types including Puranic episodes.
The performers are seen usually embellished in luxurious turban on head and a long silken coat, and attracts the audience by their gestures and postures.
Dasakathia shows a strong influence of the culture prevalent in the southern parts of Orissa which can be noted by the heavy stress on the language, the breaking of syllables with notes and rigid pronunciations.