Gotipua Folk Dance, Odisha

Gotipua is one of the oldest dance forms in the Indian State of Odisha. The Gotipua traditional dance is considered to be the forerunner of the famous classical Odissi dance form. For many centuries young boys dressed as girls perform the Gotipua dance form to praise the supreme God Lord Jagannath or Krishna. In Oriya, ‘goti’ means single and ‘pua’ means boy. Boys start to pick up the dancing style at a tender age till they reach their adolescences. The vigorous training at such an early age helps them to change into elegant feminine performers.

The boys dress them up as girls and perform in the rhythm of the ancient classical vaisnava music depicting various stories from the ‘puranas’ and on the life of Radha and Krishna. They keep long hairs like girls for a bun hairstyling, woven with flower garlands. Their faces are decked up with red & white powder along with broadly applied ‘kajal’ or black eyeliner to give the eyes a bold & elongated look. Traditional pattern is drawn with white sandalwood around the ‘bindi’ which is put in the middle of the forehead.

The bright coloured traditional costume ‘kanchula’ is worn with specially designed beaded jewelleries. Although the Gotipua dance form is based on Odissi style, it differs in the technique, presentation and the costume. The repertoire of Gotipua has Vandana prayer which refers to offering prayer to the Gods and the guru or the teacher, Sa Ri Ga Ma which depicts pure dance number highlighting the beauty and mastery of the technique, Abhinaya where the dancers enact the songs based on the interpretation of ancient poetry and the most interesting Bandha Nrutya where acrobatic postures are presented to represent Radha and Krishna.

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