Gotipua Dance

In Oriya colloquial language Gotipua means single boy. The dance performance done by a single boy is known as Gotipua dance, When decadence and declination came in to Devadasi or mahari tradition due to various reasons this Gotipua dance tradition evolved as sequel as these performance were practiced to please God. It is totally unknown that when exactly this danced form came in to practice. Still some historians say that this dance tradition appears to have originated during the region of Prataprudradev (1497 A.D. to 1540 A.D.) and gained popularity in the subsequent Muslim Rule. Ray Remananda the famous Vaishnavite Minister of King Pratapruda and ardent follower of Sri Chitanya is the originator of this boy dancing tradition, As Vasishnavs were not approving of the females in to dance practices so it possible that the dance tradition must have come after Sri Chaitanya came to Odisha.

The Gotipua Dance Tradition is now seen in the village Raghurajpur situated 10 kms away from Puri town, situated on the banks of river Bhargabi. It is otherwise known as the Crafts Village as various Odishan handicrafts’ craftsmen reside in this village contributing their expertise in Patta Painting and other handicrafts.

Under the tutelage of Gotipua Guru Maguni Das several Gotipua dancers are learning the finer elements of Gotipua dance. His repertory also performs in the country and abroad. There are four to five boy dancers in a Gotipura troupe. The boys are attired and made up as females. The dance performance begins with an invocation to five Gods and Goddesses, which is known as Bhumi Pranam. Then the pure dance or nritya is performed which is followed by Pallavi. The gestures or Bhangis are very simple in Gotipua dance. Chauka style is existent in it.

The Abhinaya is devoid of any Sanchari Bhava. The Abhinaya has the interludes of nritya. Various mudras are existent in the form as per the ancient text.

There is presence of dhwaja, danda, tripatka kartarimukha, sarpashira and many hand mudras. In abhinaya the writings of the medieval Oriya Vishanavite poets like Gopalkrushna, Banamali, Goura Charan etc. are taken. Various situations are depicted through mudras and body movements. The attire of Gotipua dancers is very simple and resembles the attire of the Devadasis. The ornaments are all made with all small plastic balls and the headgear is not that prominent. The faces of the Gotipuas are heavily made up. The accompanying instruments are harmonium, manjira and mardal.

The Gotipua dancers also perform an acrobatic type of dancing known was Bandha nritya in which several acrobatic poses like Chaki, Shagadi, Mayura and Chira Mayura are create a feast for the eyes.