India | Orissa

Odissi Dance Costume

Odissi, the classical dance form of Orissa, is known for its beauty and grace. The costume worn during the dance performance consists of a ‘pattasari’ (nine-yard saree woven from silk), a ‘komchila’ (richly embroidered blouse), a ‘nibibhanda’ (a frill worn around the legs) and a ‘jhoba’ (tassel worn around the waist). The dancer also wears a decorative headpiece, made from styrofoam, which is shaped like flowers. The headpiece also contains a temple-shaped protruding structure.

The dancers adorn themselves with traditional jewelry to enhance the beauty and grace of the dance. The jewelry is made from silver with a coating of gold. Ornaments adorn the head, ear, neck, hands, fingers and waist of the dancer.

The ornaments include a choker, ‘padaka-tilaka’ (a long necklace) , ‘bahichudi’ or ‘tayila’ (armlets), ‘kankana’(bracelets), a belt, anklets, bells, ’kapa’ (earrings) and a ‘seenthi’ (ornament work on the hair and forehead). These ornaments are embellished with natural un-cut stones lined with gold. The designs are borrowed from the jewelry that adorns the deities in the South Indian temples.

The saree, usually in bright shades of orange, red or green, in the dance costume is draped around the body in the traditional manner. Nowadays, it is stitched in the form of a pyjama to enable the quick change of costume during a performance involving multiple costumes. This saree features traditional prints.

The makeup of an Odissi dancer is in the traditional form. ‘Kajal’ (black eyeliner) is applied around the eyes to give them an elongated look. Makeup is done on the face to highlight its features. A ‘bindi’ (red dot) with a pattern made from sandalwood around it, adorns the forehead.

Updated on 26th February, 2015


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