‘Goti’ means ‘single’; and ‘Pua’ means ‘boy’ in Oriya language.
This dance is performed by the young boys in Orissa who dress up as females to praise Lord Krishna and Jagannatha. the group of boys who are well known to perform acrobatics inspired by the life of Radha Krishna. the boys learn this dance at the early stage of their life till they turn adolescents and lose their feminine looks.
The costume and make-up
To look like a female, the boys grow their hair and tie a knot which is decorated with garlands of flowers. Makeup is done on the face and bindi is kept on the forehead along with sandalwood around it. The costume consists of a brightly coloured blouse with shiny embellishment and an embroidered silk cloth known as ‘nibibandha’ which is tied around the waist. now the traditional dress is replaced by a newly designed cloth for easier dressing.
The jewelry is made up of beads like the necklace, bracelets, armbands, and earrings the ankle bells adorn the feet, and palms are painted with “Alta”. all the ornaments and the attire are considered sacred.
History of the Gotipua Dance
The temples of Orissa have female dancers called Devadasi who are Lord Jagannath’s devotees. The Sun Temple in Konark has sculptures on the walls of the temple which are evidence of the ancient tradition. the Devadasi dancers stopped the performance around the 16th century as the boy dancers came into existence in Orissa which happened during the reign of Bhoi dynasty. The dancers even sing during the performance. The Odissi dance is mainly inspired by the Gotipua dance.
Around the 16th century, with the decline of the Mahari dancers, the class of these boy dancers came into existence in Orissa to carry out the tradition. This was during the time of Bhoi king Rama Chandra Dev, founder of Bhoi dynasty. The famous Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra was Gotipua in his young days.
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