The Chhau dance is prevalent in the tribal belt of the bordering areas of the provinces of Orissa, Jharkhand and West- Bengal in eastern India. The dances are performed by many different communities such as as Mundas, Mahatos, Kalindis, Pattnaiks, Samals, Darogas, Mohantys, Acharyas, Bhols, Kars, Dubeys, and Sahoos, whereas the musicians come from the communities such as Mukhis, Kalindis, Ghadheis, Dhada.
Gotipua, an oriya etymon means a single boy. A dance which is performed by a single boy dancer in woman's costume is known as Gotipua dance. It is largely from these boy dancers that the present form of Odissi dance evolved. It is acknowledged that most of the present Odissi gurus were Gotipua dancers in their early days.
Mahari Dance originated in the temples of Odisha. History provides ample evidence of the 'Devadasi' cult in Odisha. The dance form that was being practiced by these Devdasis in the ancient times was called Mahari. The word "Mahari" in fact is formed by combining two words Maha and Nari that literally means great women. These Devadasis were considered sacred and were to perform only for the Lord Jagganath.
Odissi dance is the typical classical dance form of Orissa and has its origin in the temples. The rhythm, the 'bhangis' and 'mudras' (artistic postures) used in Odissi dance have a distinctive quality of their own. Odissi dance deals largely with the love theme of Lord Radha and Lord Krishna. This dance tradition was kept alive by the 'Devadasis'. Those who were attached to the Jagannath Temple were all Vaishnavitcs and those at Bhubaneswar were attached to Shaivite temples. Before the introduction of the Gitagovinda in temples, the devadasi used to dance to the recitation of hymns and bols of talas. But after Gitagovinda became part and parcel of the rituals, then devadasis performed the dance with different 'bhavas' and 'rasas' (emotions)