Tradition of Odissi dance is also as old as Bharatnatyam. It is connected with the Buddha devotees who developed this art as a method of praying the God. In the 7th century in Mehri tradition of Buddha devotee combined dance with the Yoga-Tantra and used the related Hast-Mudra in this dance form. This Lasya oriented dance style got popular in 1950s.
Slow and soft hand and body movements are the specialty of this style. Although earlier this dance was performed only by male dancers, in this Lasya or feminine feelings is more prominent then Taandav. In this style influence of Bharatnatyam and Kathak can be observed. During this dance was regaining its present shape after a long period of silence, archeological sculpture helps a lot to accelerate the fantasies of the dancers. That is why in this dance instead of depth of the body one can see the extra bents and poses of the body then any other classical dance style.
Buddha Religion, Shaiva, Vaishnava, Shaakta and Brahman views all have considerable influence on this style. That is why this dance has mixture of Taandav and Lasya, which separates this style from other. Percentage of Lasya is more then the Taandav. In temples or Orissa young boys in the outfit of girls, performed the dance recital. It is also have a peculiar type of head decoration. A long circle of white buds behind the head symbolize the aura and on head a cone like structure which symbolize the temple made of banana tree material gives a heavenly feelings to the spectator.
In 13th century in Konark temple near Bhuvneshwar City and in Jagannath temple in Puri City this dance grew in its maximum popularity and excellence. Vocal which support the dance is generally about Krishna as Lord Jagannath. The poetry is taken from Jaidev, a legendary poet. This dance style has its own separate style of music, gestures and movements and dancing principal.
Some of the famous teachers of this style are Shri Mohan Mahapatra and his famous student Kelucharan Mahapatra, Pankaj Charandas, Maharana, Hare Krishna Behra, Mayadhar Raut, Ramniranjan, Surendranath Jin and the famous dancers of this style Sanyukta Panigrahi, Sonal Mansingh and Madhvi Mudgal.