ODC specializes in promoting the Indian classical dance style of Odissi from the east Indian state of Orissa. Odissi dance stems from the Natya Shastra, the ancient treatise on music and dance shared by all Indian classical dance styles. The style of Odissi has been directly tied to temple dance culture for millenia. Temple dances from the state of Orissa date as far back as the first millenium B.C.
Odissi is one of the nine recognized classical dance forms of India, and hails from one of the oldest cultures of dance and music in the country. The main aesthetic of Odissi comes from the temples in and around the capital of Odisha, each pose in the dance form directly influenced by centuries-old temple sculpture as Konark.
Like many Indian classical dance forms, Odissi comes from two important lineages: the dance of the maharis and the dance of the gotipuas. Centuries ago, the maharis were female dancers in the temples of Orissa and were an integral part of the worship of Lord Jagannath. The gotipuas, male dancers, would dance outside the temple for festivals and would also perform for Lord Jagannath and the audience.
Over time, the dance traditions of the maharis and gotipuas slowly declined until the mid-twentieth century when descendants of the gotipua tradition began to piece together a dance tradition and technique that we would come to know as Odissi.