Sattriya Dance | Classical Dance of Assam - TheUnexplored Blog

December 11th, 2022

Sattriya Dance | Classical Dance of Assam

Sattriya Dance is an ancient dance form originating from Assam in the northeast of India. It is one of the eighteen classical dances of India and is performed mainly in the state of Assam. It is considered to be one of the most graceful and powerful dances in the world which represents is unquestionably an iconic part of Assamese culture. ┬áThe dance is performed to classical music and usually involves intricate footwork and poses which are still performed there today. The dancing technique evolved in the Assamese monastery’s sattras.

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Sattriya Dance Nritya is a dance form that was composed by Sankardeva to go with the Ankiya Naat (a sort of Assamese one-act drama invented by him). It is characterized by its use of devotional songs and themes, as well as certain distinctive hand gestures and footwork. Sattriya Nritya is performed by both men and women, and often includes elaborate costumes and makeup.

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It is based on Vaishnavism and incorporates features of martial arts, acrobatics, and singing. It is characterized by brisk movements and rapid changes of stance. Sattriya Nritya is traditionally performed in Hindu temples as part of the daily rituals or on festive occasions.

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Sankardeva was a 15th-16th century Hindu religious reformer and saint who founded the Ekasarana Dharma (also known as Assam Vaishnavism or Neo-Vaishnavism), a Vaishnav sect based on Bhakti (devotion to Lord Krishna) in Assam, India. He was one of the first proponents of the Bhakti movement in India. He is also credited with inventing the Ankiya Naat, a one-act drama based on the life and love of Radha and Krishna, which is still popular among the people of Assam.

Sattriya Dance
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Sattriya Dance History

According to copper plate texts and artwork from the Shaivism and Shaktism traditions, Assam has a rich history of dance and art. ┬áThe Assamese chorus singing tradition for the Hindu epics is where singing and musical traditions may also be traced back. Indian traditional dance known as Sattriya has its roots in ancient theatre and music, particularly Bharata Muni’s Natya Sangeet. Between 200 BCE and 200 CE, the earliest comprehensive collection was created.

Sattriya Dance
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Up until the first decade of the nineteenth century, the Sattras continued to practice extreme deprivation and dedication behind their walls. This dance is only performed by men, and they do it very sincerely and spiritually. The slow acceptance and acknowledgment of Sattriya Nritya may have been caused by a variety of factors.

Sattriya Dance
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Several mythological creatures are honored in the dance. They perform intricate dances and steps, and multiple singers contribute to the composition of the tunes. These dances feature the traditional Assamese melody known as “Borgeet.” In Assamese kirtan ghars, monks perform a ceremonial art known as sattriya, a living tradition (prayer halls). The dance was sacrificed to Krishna for many years inside the walls of monasteries.

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