RDM Studio Newsletter
Odissi is poetry in motion.
The white delicate headgear of an Odissi dancer adds to her aura. We will continue to discuss the realm of Aharya Abhinaya.
The decorative headpiece of the dancer is made from shola pith, a type of plant that grows abundantly in Orissa. This tradition of carving shola pith is called shola kama. A series of cuts are made into the stem and form various types of flowers when a cord is tied in the middle of the rod and pulled. As the string tightens, flowers blossom into jasmines, champa and kadamba.
The crown, known as the mahkoot, is exquisitely made in Puri, Orissa. The mahkoot consists of two parts. The flower decorated back piece is called the ghoba which represents the lotus flower with a thousand petals that lie above the head in the form of the head chakra, or energy center. The longer piece that emerges from the center of the back piece is called the thiya and this depicts the temple spire of Lord Jagganath.
Sola mahkoot tend to break very easily, so its best to store them in a box. Cloth mahkoots are a better, longer lasting alternative that require less maintenance . During a performance the bun needs to be tight so that the mahkoot is secure. Most wardrobe malfunctions happen when the mahkoot is loose or the thiya is not inserted properly.
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“Indian classical dance is sustained by a profound philosophy. Form seeks to merge with the formless, motion seeks to become part of the motionless, and the dancer seeks to become one with the eternal cosmos.”
– Nita Ambani
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