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Sattriya Nritya – A Majestic Journey into Assam’s Classical Dance Heritage

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

Sattriya – Wikipedia

Introduction:

India, a land of diverse cultural traditions, is known for its rich heritage of classical dances. While most people are familiar with forms like Bharatanatyam, Kathak, and Odissi, there is another hidden gem that deserves equal recognition – Sattriya Nritya. Originating from the northeastern state of Assam, Sattriya Nritya showcases a unique blend of devotion, storytelling, and graceful movements. In this blog post, we embark on a journey to explore the captivating world of Sattriya Nritya and delve into Assam’s classical dance heritage.

The Origins and Historical Significance:

Sattriya Nritya traces its roots back to the Vaishnavite monasteries called ‘Sattras,’ which were established by the saint-reformer Srimanta Sankardeva in the 15th century. These monastic institutions became centers for preserving and propagating art, literature, and spiritual teachings. Sattriya Nritya emerged as a medium to express devotion and spread religious messages among the masses. It was initially performed exclusively by male monks but later opened up to women as well.

Elements and Aesthetics:

Sattriya Nritya beautifully combines elements of dance, drama, and music. The repertoire of Sattriya Nritya is rich and diverse, encompassing a wide range of themes and emotions. It draws inspiration from mythological tales, the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, and the life of Lord Krishna. The dance form exhibits intricate footwork, graceful hand gestures known as ‘mudras,’ and vibrant costumes adorned with traditional Assamese motifs. The music accompanying Sattriya Nritya is typically based on classical ragas and composed with traditional Assamese musical instruments like the khol, flute, and violin.

Styles and Techniques:

Sattriya Nritya can be classified into two main styles: the ‘Nritta’ (pure dance) and the ‘Nritya’ (expressive dance). Nritta emphasizes rhythmic movements, intricate footwork, and geometric patterns. Nritya, on the other hand, focuses on expressing emotions and storytelling through graceful body movements, facial expressions, and hand gestures. The dancers undergo rigorous training to perfect the techniques and maintain the authenticity of this ancient dance form.

Preservation and Revival:

For centuries, Sattriya Nritya remained confined within the walls of the Sattras, performed only during religious ceremonies and festivals. However, in the mid-20th century, the renowned dance guru Padmashree Jatin Goswami pioneered efforts to bring Sattriya Nritya to the mainstream. His dedicated efforts led to the recognition of Sattriya Nritya as a classical dance form by the Government of India in 2000. Since then, numerous institutions and dance schools have emerged, promoting and teaching Sattriya Nritya, ensuring its preservation and continuity.

Present-day Scenario and Global Recognition:

Today, Sattriya Nritya has gained recognition not only within India but also on the global stage. It has captivated audiences around the world with its unique charm and spiritual depth. Renowned Sattriya dancers and institutions have been actively performing and organizing workshops, festivals, and collaborative productions, enabling a wider appreciation of this ancient art form.

The Future of Sattriya Nritya:

As Sattriya Nritya continues to evolve and adapt to contemporary contexts, it faces the challenge of striking a balance between preserving its traditional essence and exploring new artistic possibilities. Efforts are being made to incorporate innovative themes, choreography, and collaborations with other dance forms, while staying true to the core principles of Sattriya Nritya.

Here are some renowned dancers of Sattriya Nritya from Assam:

Guru Jatin Goswami:

A celebrated Sattriya dancer, Guru Jatin Goswami is known for his expertise in the dance form. He has played a significant role in popularizing Sattriya Nritya both in India and internationally. Guru Jatin Goswami has received numerous accolades for his contributions to the art form.

Guru Indira P.P. Bora:

Another prominent figure in Sattriya Nritya, Guru Indira P.P. Bora has dedicated her life to the preservation and promotion of this classical dance form. She is recognized for her intricate footwork and expressive storytelling. Guru Indira P.P. Bora has trained numerous students and has been instrumental in the revival of Sattriya Nritya.

Anwesa Mahanta:

An accomplished Sattriya dancer, Anwesa Mahanta has gained recognition for her exceptional talent and dedication to the art form. With her graceful movements and emotive expressions, she has captivated audiences both within India and abroad. Anwesa Mahanta continues to contribute to the growth and popularity of Sattriya Nritya.

Anindita Neogy Anaam:

Anindita Neogy Anaam is a highly acclaimed Sattriya dancer who has made a significant impact in the field. She is known for her impeccable technique, versatility, and innovation. Anindita Neogy Anaam has received numerous awards and honors for her exceptional performances and commitment to Sattriya Nritya.

Dr. Mallika Kandali:

A leading exponent of Sattriya Nritya, Dr. Mallika Kandali has dedicated her life to the preservation and promotion of this dance form. She is recognized for her deep understanding of the nuances of Sattriya Nritya and her ability to convey its spiritual essence through her performances. Dr. Mallika Kandali has played a vital role in training and mentoring young dancers.

These are just a few of the many accomplished dancers who have contributed to the popularity and growth of Sattriya Nritya. Their talent, dedication, and passion have not only elevated the art form but have also inspired future generations to embrace and explore the beauty of Sattriya Nritya.

Conclusion:

Sattriya Nritya stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Assam and the artistic genius of Srimanta Sankardeva. This majestic dance form, with its divine grace and vibrant storytelling, has carved a niche for itself in the world of classical dances. As we delve into the captivating world of Sattriya Nritya, we find ourselves immersed in the mesmerizing beauty of Assam’s classical dance heritage. Let us celebrate and cherish this invaluable treasure that showcases the essence of devotion, artistry, and spirituality.

Sattriya Nritya stands as a testament to the rich artistic heritage of Assam, captivating audiences with its elegance, storytelling, and spiritual essence. From its humble beginnings in the Vaishnavite monasteries to its recognition as a cherished classical dance form, Sattriya Nritya has withstood the test of time. As we embrace this ancient art, let us celebrate its resilience, beauty, and the profound cultural legacy it represents.

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Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - A specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

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