Traveling to any particular place primarily involves the sightseeing trips. Next to that, any tourist with a penchant for knowledge looks to peek into the cultures of that particular area. Accordingly, a tour to the majestic state of Orissa involves thorough information regarding the Arts and Crafts of Orissa. The Performing Arts of Orissa, however, carry tremendous importance and are extremely elegant to watch. Chhau Dance, one such art form, has, with its uniqueness reached great heights of popularity even in the western part of the world.
The Chhau Dance originated as a dance form of warriors (paikas). The warriors fought to the rhythm of the musical accompaniment. Later, of course, the dance form came to follow the basic principle of Natya Shastra of Bharat Muni and the Abhinaya Darpana of Nandikeswara.
Associated deeply with religion, the dance performances illustrate episodes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. In Saraikala School of dance, usually the faces of the dancers are covered with masks of the characters they are portraying and in Mayurbhanj School, the faces remain uncovered. The feet and legs are the main canvases of expression instead of the face.
Huge kettle drums and various other instruments are used in this form of dance. The dancers normally choose high platforms in open air to perform the dances in the Chaitra Parva festival.
Chhau Dance performances are some of the most intriguing dance forms of Orissa and being lucky enough to watch one of their performances would prove be of great delight while you are on your Tour to Orissa.