Sattriya Dance
the 500 years old dance form of Assam is one among eight
classical dances of India
is highly devotional in character.

 

 

Origin

The Sattriya dance form was introduced in the 15th century by the great Vaishnava saint and reformer of Assam, Shrimanta Shankaradeva (1449-1568 ) as a powerful medium for propagation of the Vaishnava faith. He integrated art and bhakti by creating a whole gamut of dance, drama and music for the upliftment of the Assamese society.

Sankardeva created Sattriya Nritya as an accompaniment to the Ankiya Naat (a form of Assamese one-act plays devised by him), which were usually performed in the sattras, as Assam's monasteries are called. As the tradition developed and grew within the sattras, the dance form came to be called Sattriya Nritya. Today, although Sattriya Nritya has emerged from within the confines of the sattras to a much wider recognition, the sattras continue to use the dance form for ritualistic and other purposes for which it was originally created circa 500 years ago.

In the second half of the 19th century, Sattriya Nritya emerged from the sanctum of Assam's sattras. It moved from the monastery to the metropolitan stage. The sattras had maintained certain rigid disciplines and austerities within their walls, and until the first half of the 19th century this dance style was performed in a highly ritualistic manner by male dancers alone. The classical rigidity, the strict adherence to certain principles, and the non-engagement of academic research on the dance form all contributed to the delayed recognition and acceptance of Sattriya Nritya as one of the eight classical dance forms of India. On 15 November 2000, the Sangeet Natak Akademi finally gave Sattriya Nritya its due recognition as one of the classical dance forms of India, alongside the other seven forms.