Gotipua, the majestic folk dance of Odisha - India. In Odia language, Goti means single and Pua means boy.
For centuries, the Gotipua dance has been performed in Odisha by young boys who dress up as female to praise Lord Jagannath and Lord Krishna.
The actual form of the dance is executed by a group of boys who perform acrobatic figures inspired by the life of Radha & Krishna. The boys start to learn the dance at an early age until the adolescence, when their androgynous look is fading.
Long ago, the temples in Odisha had female dancers known as devadasis (or mahari), who were devoted to Jagannath, which gave rise to Mahari dance. Sculptures of dancers on bas-reliefs in temples in Odisha (and the Konark Sun and Jagannath Temples in Puri) demonstrate this ancient tradition. With the decline of mahari dancers around the 16th century during the reign of Rama Chandra Dev (who founded the Bhoi dynasty), boy dancers in Odisha continued the tradition. Gotipua dance is in the Odissi style, but their technique, costumes and presentation differ from those of the mahari; the singing is done by the dancers. Present-day Odissi dance has been influenced by Gotipua dance. Most masters of Odissi dance (such as Kelucharan Mohapatra, from Raghurajpur) were Gotipua dancers in their youth.
Odissi dance is a combination of tandava (vigorous, masculine) and lasya (graceful, feminine) dances. It has two basic postures: tribhangi (in which the body is held with bends at the head, torso and knees) and chouka (a square-like stance, symbolising Jagannath). Fluidity in the upper torso is characteristic of Odissi dance, which is often compared to the gentle sea waves which caress the Odisha beaches.
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