Odisha is Rich in Folk dances of Odisha and music which is a joy for all arts and culture lovers.

Folk dances of Odisha and music are a classical style of music that includes all the essential elements, such as rhythm and raga, Karnatic, and Hindustani music.

Odisha, a state in eastern India, has a rich cultural heritage that includes various forms of traditional dance.

One of the most famous folk dances of Odisha is the “Odissi” dance, which is not exactly a folk dance but a classical dance form.

However, it is essential to mention Odissi because it is closely associated with the cultural identity of the state.

So, The tradition of verses that were short in musical design.

There are the following dances which are the Folk dances of Odisha.


Ravana Chhaya Folk dances of Odisha

"Karma Naach

Karma Naach is one of the popular Folk dances of the state of Odisha in India belongs to the Sambalpur district.

However, Karma word derived from Karam or Karma which means “destiny” or “fate”.

So, The word Karma comes from the Sambalpuri language.

Firstly, This dance starts in the month of Bhadrab on the 11th of the month.

Moreover, This Sambalpuri folk dance is known for the worship of Karam Devta or Karamsani Devi who are god or goddess of fate, these god and goddess is responsible for great and awful destiny.

Binjhal, Kharia, Kisan, and Kol are the tribes among them this Sambalpuri is famous in the following districts Balangir, Kalahandi, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, and Mayurbhanj.

 But, Dance is famous in central and eastern India.

Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal are the state where also Karma Naach by the various tribes.

Colorful costumes are also used to perform this dance.

apart from the red cloth peacock feathers, small conch shells designed ornaments make this dance very unique.

In the same vein, Enhance the experience of the dance.

Gotipua dance Folk dances of Odisha

Gotipua Dance
Gotipua source

Raghurajpur in Odisha is a mythological village also known for its Gotipua dance.

The meaning of Gotipua in Odia is “single boy”.

Odissi’s dance form originally came from this dance.

Gotipua is a Folk dance of Odisa that comes with hight high degrees of technique and presentation.

Dance is mainly performed by young boys aged between 6 to 14 years who dress up like girls and wear beautiful sarees and ornaments.

Gotipua dance is a traditional and indigenous dance form from the state of Odisha in eastern India.

The word “Gotipua” can be roughly translated to “single boy” in the local Odia language, and the dance form involves young boys dressing up as girls to perform dance routines.

Gotipua dance is a precursor to the classical Odissi dance and has its origins in the temple traditions of Odisha.

More about Gotipua-Folk dances of Odisha

The boys begin to memorize the dance at an early age until puberty when their androgynous see is fading.

This dance is mainly performed by a group of young boys from older times in the Odisha state in India to praise Lord Jagannath and Krishna dance.

The young male dancers, known as Gotipuas, don elaborate female attire, complete with sarees, jewelry, and makeup.

They mimic the appearance of female dancers and deities.

Mardala is the main musical instrument, a head drum which is also used to perform the Gotipua dance.

However, This musical instrument is used to perform classical music in the state of Odisha.

From these instruments, the Harmonium, Violine, and Bansuri are other instruments that are used in the Gotipua dance.

Dancers wear designed ornaments such as beaded jewelry necklaces, bracelets, armbands, ear ornaments, and dresses which are used while dancing in Kanchula.

Gotipua dancers often perform episodes from Hindu mythology and other stories through their dance movements.

These narratives are an essential part of the performance and are conveyed through gestures and expressions

Gotipua dance plays a significant role in preserving the cultural and artistic heritage of Odisha.

Over the years, many Gotipua dancers transitioned into classical Odissi dance, which is more widely recognized as a classical dance form.

However, the Gotipua dance continues to hold a special place in the cultural landscape of the region and is appreciated for its unique blend of dance, music, and storytelling.

Bagha Nacha Folk dances of Odisha

Baagh dance
Baagh dance source

Bagha Nacha is very famous in the Eastern Coastal State of Odisha in India.

However, To perform this dance artists go through training routines for years to learn this dance form.

In this dance, artists perform unique acrobatic stunts to match dance action with a tiger.

Bagha Nacha is a dance of the state of Odisha famous in the following districts Binka, Sonepur of Subarnapur district, Brahmapur, and also in Ganjam district.

Dance perform during the Chaitra of the year.

This dance is also known as the Tiger dance.

Because male dancer paints their body with yellow and black stripes like tiger skins and also attach a tail to their back.

Drums and bells are the main musical instruments.

The dancer makes sounds like murmuring which sounds very comparative to the stealthy creature like a tiger.

One needs to have thorough honing to perform the stunts with suitable synchronizing with the melodic instruments played amid the exhibitions.

Now a day Bagha Nacha is getting popular in Odisha state and training is given in the various music school of Odisha.

Jodi Sankha-Folk dances of Odisha

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Jodi Sankha means “double conch” which shows classical rural music with the help of dance.

This dance is the famous dance of Odisha state in the Ganjam district.

Dancers wear colorful clothes and dance to the music by blowing a conch.

To perform this dance artists do hard practice for many years and by performing this dance artist shows their lung power.

Jodi Sankha dance has national and international value and is heavily in demand at the time of the election season.

In this dance, artists wear colorful dresses such as dhoti, kurtas, and turban, etc.

To perform the Jodi Sankha dance mainly required musical instrument is Sankha or “Conch”.

While doing performances with colorful dresses artists constantly take alongside two coaches related to each other.

Ranapa dance-Folk dances of Odisha

Ranapa dance
Ranapa dance source

One of the popular folk dances of Odisha is the Ranapa dance. This dance form is mainly famous in the southern part of the state.

To perform this dance stilts are used in which the dancer stands and performs a dance.

This dance is based on Lord Krishna’s childhood stories. the story shows the childhood acts of Lord Krishna.

mainly popular in coastal areas of the Ganjam district of Odisha.

fabulous stunts are done using these stilts.

The dance steps mainly represent the skills of martial art. this dance form shows the spirit and joy of mankind.

“Dhol” and “Mahuri” are the other musical instruments for the dance.

Mahari dance-Folk dances of Odisha

Mahari dance source

It is one of the oldest dance forms of the Indian state Odisha.

Mahari is a dance from the eastern Indian state of Odisha.

This dance form of mainly used to perform in the temple of Lord Jagannatha at Puri by devadasi dancers known as Maharis.

But now performed on stage at many venues.

Mahari dance, one of the vital dance forms of Odisha, gave birth to the present-day famous classical dance form Odissi.

However, Devadasi dancers perform this dance called maharis.

The Maharis has also been among the foremost exponents of both traditional Odia dances.


Laudi Khela dance-Folk dances of Odisha

Laudi Khela
Laudi Khela source

  Gauda Nacha or laudi khela.

This dance is also famous in the coastal districts of Odisha like Puri, Khurda, Bhadrak, Baleswar, Dhenkanal, Angul, Cuttack, Jajapur, and Jagatsinghpur.

 But, The cast of Gopal or Yadav performed this dance on the occasion of the Holi festival.

Most people of Gopal or Yadav consider Lord Krishna as their caste.

Dancers use clothes and peacock feathers like Lord Krishna to perform this dance.

Ghumara-Folk dances of Odisha


It is a folk dance in the Kalahandi district of Orissa.

The dressing style in the dance appears to be of tribal origin.

The hand movements and steps resemble the forms.

Basically considered as a folk dance, all the elements of a classical dance exist in Ghumara dance.

hand and body movements and drama or the moods expressed through facial expression, movement, music, and songs, beat, and rhythm.

It is a group dance in many formations.

There is Circular Dance where the performers form a circle, there can be other shapes to the formation such as semi-circular, triangular, square, or rectangular.

The dance can depict many events such as sheep fighting dance or hen fighting dance.

The Cross dance and Square dance forms of Ghumara Sanchar are very popular.

It is a popular group dance at many international events.

Ghumara Sanchar has an interesting mixture of dance, music, and drama to keep the audience riveted.

This dance is presented in India at important national and international events held in Delhi, Moscow, and other places.

Ghumura dance is not only a form of entertainment but also a means of celebrating and preserving the cultural heritage of the Kalahandi district.

Its rhythmic and captivating performances, coupled with the distinctive sound of the Ghumura drum, make it a significant and unique folk dance form in the state of Odisha

Paika Folk dances of Odisha

Paika dance is a famous dance form of Orissa.

Perform by the paikas of the Oriya army.

The main target of this dance is to enhance physical excitement and to develop inner courage.

The tradition of this dance is throughout the huge area of the tribal belt of the Mayurbhanj district.

However, this is a group dance.

Men as warriors appear for the performance, in their colorful turbans and tight dhotis and stand in two rows.

Holding the wooden swords and shields in their hands, warriors engage in fierce mock combat.

During the festival of Dussehra, all the Akhadas celebrate their annual festivals.

Display traditional gymnastics, and acrobatics during the various village-group competitive performances.

Moreover, each group participates with great enthusiasm on such occasions.

This dance accompanies the music of Narsingha, shehnai, Bheir, and the Dhak and Nagara drums.


The Kela is a nomadic group.
However, they make their living by catching snakes.
Folk dance Kela-Keluni is a very interesting folk dance full of humor.
The story revolves around Kel’s circumstances as he is married to two Kelunis.
and how he survives to keep her two wives happy.
The khela usually plays the guduk, a typical stringed instrument.
The late Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra composed and performed the Kela Kelooni dance along with her wife Lakshmi Priya Devi and Jayanthi Gose.

Sambalpuri Dance-Folk dances of Odisha

Sambalpuri dance has its origin in the Sambalpur.

This dance is characterized by the region of Odisha.

Its scintillating movements of feet to the rhythm of dholak and flute coupled with the tinkling of ghungroos.

It is during festivals and celebrations.

The attire is usually the famous sambalpuri sari with a red colored blouse and traditional jewelry.


It is known for its vibrant and energetic movements, colorful costumes, and rhythmic footwork. Sambalpuri dance is often performed during festivals, cultural events, and celebrations in the state of Odisha.

Key features and characteristics of Sambalpuri dance


 Sambalpuri dance is visually striking due to the colorful and elaborate costumes worn by the dancers. Both male and female dancers wear traditional attire that includes brightly colored sarees, turbans (for men), and intricate jewelry. The costumes are adorned with traditional Sambalpuri textile designs, known for their rich patterns and motifs.

Music and Instruments

The dance is accompanied by traditional Sambalpuri music, which includes instruments like the dhol (a double-headed drum), mardala (a percussion instrument), and harmonium. The music sets the rhythm and tempo for the dance.

Rhythmic Footwork

 Sambalpuri dance is characterized by intricate and rhythmic footwork, which often includes quick and precise steps. The footwork adds dynamism and energy to the performance.

Group and Solo Performances

 Sambalpuri dance can be performed both in groups and as solo acts. Group performances often involve synchronized movements and formations, while solo performances allow for individual expressions and variations.

Narrative Elements

 While Sambalpuri dance primarily focuses on rhythm and movement, it may also incorporate narrative elements or themes from daily life and local traditions. These elements enhance the storytelling aspect of the dance.

Gesture and Expression

 Dancers use hand gestures (mudras) and facial expressions to convey emotions and stories during the performance. These gestures are an integral part of the dance form and help communicate the narrative

Occasions and Celebrations

 Sambalpuri dance is frequently performed during festivals like Sambalpuri Nuakhai, Sital Sasthi, and other cultural events. It is an essential part of the cultural heritage of the Sambalpur region.

Sambalpuri dance reflects the rich cultural traditions of western Odisha and serves as a vibrant expression of the region’s cultural identity. The dance form has gained recognition and popularity not only within Odisha but also on a national and international level. It is celebrated for its lively and spirited performances, making it a captivating and enjoyable aspect of Odisha’s cultural heritage.

Chaitee Ghoda

It is popularly known as the Ghoda dance.

The Kaibarta community does this dance.

It is during the Chitra month of the Hindu calendar.

Dummy bamboo horse at the waist of the dancer.

Chhau dance

Chhau dance is a traditional Indian dance form that has its origins in the eastern states of Odisha, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. It is an energetic and vibrant dance known for its martial and tribal characteristics. The Chhau dance style combines elements of dance, drama, music, and acrobatics, and it is often performed during religious festivals and cultural celebrations.

Key features and characteristics of Chhau dance

Origins and Variants

Chhau dance has three main regional variants: Seraikella Chhau (from Jharkhand), Purulia Chhau (from West Bengal), and Mayurbhanj Chhau (from Odisha). Each variant has its distinct style and repertoire.

Themes and Storytelling

The Chhau dance is a form of dance that often portrays stories from Hindu mythology, particularly episodes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. It uses elaborate masks and costumes to represent various characters, including gods, goddesses, demons, and other figures, and is known for its ability to effectively convey different narratives.

Masks and Costumes

 One of the most distinctive aspects of Chhau dance is the use of colorful masks made of paper mache or wood. These masks are intricately crafted and are essential for portraying characters. The costumes are also elaborate, with intricate detailing and vibrant colors.

Acrobatics and Martial Arts

 Chhau dance incorporates elements of acrobatics and martial arts, adding an impressive and dynamic dimension to the performance. Dancers execute difficult and agile movements, including leaps, somersaults, and high kicks.

Music and Instruments

 The music for Chhau dance is provided by a traditional ensemble of instruments, including the dhol (a double-headed drum), shehnai (a wind instrument), and kharka (a metallic percussion instrument). The music sets the rhythm and pace for the dancers.

Training and Guru-Shishya Tradition

 Dancers undergo rigorous training under the guidance of a guru (teacher). The training includes learning the intricate dance movements, mask-making, and understanding the traditional stories and their portrayal in Chhau.


Chhau dance is typically performed in open-air spaces, such as village squares or courtyards, during festivals like Chaitra Parva, Chhau Mahotsav, and others. It is an integral part of the cultural heritage of the regions where it is practiced.

Chhau dance is not only a form of entertainment but also a means of preserving cultural and religious traditions. It has gained recognition and popularity beyond its place of origin and is appreciated for its artistic and cultural significance. The combination of storytelling, elaborate costumes, masks, acrobatics, and music makes Chhau dance a captivating and unique art form in India

Dalkhai dance-Folk dances of Odisha

Dalkhai dance is a traditional folk dance that originates from the Sambalpur region of Odisha, India. It is a lively and vibrant dance form performed primarily by women and is an integral part of the cultural heritage of the region. Dalkhai dance is often performed during festivals, agricultural celebrations, and other special occasions.

Key features and characteristics of Dalkhai dance

Female Performers

 Dalkhai dance is typically performed by women and young girls, who don traditional Odia attire. The dancers wear colorful sarees, jewelry, and ornaments, enhancing the visual appeal of the performance.

Rhythmic Footwork

 Dalkhai dance is known for its rhythmic and energetic footwork. The dancers create intricate patterns and rhythms through their foot movements, adding dynamism to the performance.

Hand Gestures and Expressions

Like many traditional Indian dance forms, Dalkhai dance incorporates hand gestures (mudras) and facial expressions to convey emotions and tell stories. These gestures are an essential part of the dance and help communicate the narrative.

Narrative Elements

 While Dalkhai dance primarily focuses on dance and music, it may also incorporate narrative elements or themes related to daily life, agriculture, and local traditions. These elements enrich the storytelling aspect of the dance.

Group Performance

 Dalkhai dance is often performed in a group, with dancers forming a circle or semi-circle. Group formations allow for synchronized movements and interactions among the dancers.

Musical Accompaniment

 The dance is accompanied by traditional Odia music, featuring instruments like the dhol (a double-headed drum), nisan (a cylindrical percussion instrument), and harmonium. The music sets the tempo and mood for the dance.

Celebrations and Festivals

Dalkhai dance is commonly performed during various festivals and celebrations in the Sambalpur region, including festivals like Nuakhai and Durga Puja. It is a vital component of the cultural festivities.

Cultural Significance

 Dalkhai dance is more than just a performance; it is a reflection of the local culture and traditions of the Sambalpur region. It plays a role in preserving and passing down the cultural heritage from one generation to the next.

Dalkhai dance is celebrated for its colorful and energetic performances, and it serves as an expression of joy and celebration in the communities of the Sambalpur region. It continues to be a cherished and vibrant part of Odisha’s folk dance tradition, showcasing the rich cultural diversity of the state.

Jhumar Dance-Folk dances of Odisha

Jhumar dance is a traditional folk dance that is popular among various tribal communities in the eastern Indian states of Jharkhand, Bihar, and West Bengal. It is known for its graceful and fluid movements, making it a captivating and elegant dance form. Jhumar is typically performed during social and cultural celebrations, especially weddings and festivals, by both men and women.

Key features and characteristics of Jhumar dance


Jhumar dancers wear traditional tribal attire, which varies based on the specific community performing the dance. The costumes are often adorned with colorful fabric, jewelry, and accessories.

Music and Instruments

 The dance is accompanied by traditional music played on instruments like the dhol (a double-headed drum), shehnai (a wind instrument), and sometimes, the harmonium. The music sets the rhythm and pace for the dancers.

Footwork and Movements

 Jhumar dance is characterized by graceful and flowing movements. Dancers use gentle footwork and elegant hand gestures to create a harmonious and visually pleasing performance.

Group Performances

 Jhumar is typically performed in groups, and the dancers often form a circle or semi-circle. Group formations allow for synchronized movements and interactions among the dancers.

Narrative Elements

 While Jhumar dance primarily focuses on movement and expression, it may also incorporate narrative elements or stories related to the tribal culture and traditions. These elements add depth and meaning to the performance.

Expression and Emotion

 Dancers use facial expressions and body language to convey emotions and tell stories during the dance. This expressive aspect of the dance adds to its artistic appeal.

Celebrations and Occasions

 Jhumar dance is commonly performed during various celebrations, including weddings, festivals like Diwali, Holi, and other cultural events within tribal communities. It is a means of celebrating and preserving tribal traditions.

Cultural Significance

 Jhumar dance is an integral part of the cultural identity of the tribal communities in the region. It reflects their unique heritage and way of life, serving as a medium to pass down their traditions to future generations.

Jhumar dance showcases the rich and diverse cultural tapestry of the tribal communities in eastern India. Its graceful movements and expressive storytelling make it a captivating and cherished form of folk art. The dance continues to thrive as an important cultural tradition, and it is often performed with great enthusiasm and pride during various social and festive occasions.



The associated art of dance and music is more popularly known as Panchama Veda.

However, play with success in Odisha (Orissa) from a very ancient time.

The rhythms, bhangis, and postures used in dance have their own distinctive styles.

Above all this dance performance with the theme of the infinite love of Lord Krishna and Radha.


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