Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle

Winter/Spring 2017

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine

Issue link: http://read.dreamscapes.ca/i/776538

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M y first contact with Odisha was through Odissi, the classical dance that originated in this coastal state of eastern India. When I wit- nessed a performance for the first time during my student days in Toronto, I had no idea I would eventually spend years in India as a student of the dance. It was through Odissi that I was first exposed to Odisha's rich artistic heritage, religious traditions and even its landscape—before I even set foot there. ART IMITATING LIFE I had read that Odissi (one of India's eight classical dance styles) is associated with the element of water, and that its fluid torso movements and graceful arm and wrist movements resemble the waves of the Bay of Bengal and the rustling of palm trees. These soft lyrical movements are juxtaposed by strong, rhythmical footwork and striking poses inspired by the sculptures found in Odisha's many majestic temples. During my first lesson, I learned the basic chauka position, bending my knees out to the sides while lifting and bending my arms at right angles, just like the statue of Jagannath, the Hindu god worshipped here. THE CITY OF TEMPLES I arrived by train in Bhubaneswar, the state capital and one of three stops in the "golden triangle" pilgrimage circuit featuring the DREAMSCAPES WINTER/SPRING 2017 12 ODISHA'S TEMPLES ATTRACT MILLIONS OF PILGRIMS, BUT IT WAS ITS CLASSICAL DANCE THAT DREW ME HERE. A Land of TEMPLES BY ISABEL PUTINJA TOP: The 10 th -century Mukteswar Temple in Bhubaneswar features stunning architectural details. Odisha Tourism OPPOSITE: The 13 th -century Sun Temple in Konark serves as a scenic setting to a dance festival held every December. Isabel Putinja

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