Odissi Terms

Alasa-Kanyas: Stone sculptures adorning the temple-walls of Odisha. Alasa means indolent. Kanya means female. Alasa-Kanya means a sculpture of a female body in static postures.

Bhangas: Bodily postures in Odissi, which also form the basis of sculpture.

Bhumi Pronam: A ritual salutary gesture (Pronam) to the ground (Bhumi). The first series of movements one engages to honor the space before the start of dance practice.

Gotipua: Goti means single. Pua means boy. Gotipuas were a group of prepubescent boys dressed as girls who performed since the sixteenth century outside the temples.

Jagannath: A Hindu male deity who has a deep connection with the land of Odisha. Maharis or temple-dancers were appointed in the Jagannath temple since the thirteenth century.

Kapithha: A single-handed gesture where the tips of the forefinger and the thumbs touch while the rest of the fingers curl on the palm. It represents an array of meanings among which the portrayal of a bird and a female figure are most prevalent.

Mahari: The historical temple-dancer who performed in the temples of Odisha from the twelfth to the twentieth century. The temple-dancer lived in matrilineal societies and was married to the Hindu deities. Their performance was deeply spiritual and an embodied offering to the temple ritual program.

Meenadanda: Meena means fish. Danda means line. Meenadanda is a movement that navigates a curvilinear trajectory on the floor. This movement is attributed to the Mahari.

Mocap: Short for motion capture, mocap is a digital technology for converting live movements into 3D data.

Natyamandapa: Dance-hall in the Hindu temple.

Natyasastra: The ancient Indian performing arts treatise that has the first verbal mention of Odissi as Odra-magadhi.

Odisha: An eastern Indian state.

Odissi: An Indian classical dance form from the eastern Indian state of Odisha that has a two thousand year-old history documented in manuscripts, paintings, and embodied dance lineages of practitioners. Today, the dance has attained global popularity.

Odissi Practitioner: Individual invested in teaching, choreographing, and training in the field of Odissi dance.

PaR: Abbreviation for Practice-as-Research that is a methodology for imbricating theory and practice in the context of research in the arts.

Patachitra: Palm-leaf painting.

Rasa: Literally means flavor. It is also an aesthetic theory that has deep philosophical and spiritual connotations.

Sadhana: The disciplined daily practice of dance and the cultural rituals in the context of South Asian performance practices.

Sukasarika: An indolent heroine or Alasa-Kanya, speaking to her parrot companion as her reflection.