Sattriya Dance

About Sattriya dance:

Sattriya, like every Indian classical dance form, is a representation of the Assamese Heritage and culture which has been preserved, popularized and practiced in the Sattra monasteries for more than 550 years. It is a powerful medium for propagation of bhakti faith based on Bhagavat Puran among the illiterate masses of the 15th century Brahmaputra valley spearheaded by Vaishnava saint and social reformer Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankaradeva.

It was first presented to the public eye in the play Chihna Yatra, a composite form of dance, music and drama by Srimanta Sankaradeva in 1468 A.D. Sankaradeva introduced this dance style in the form of dance drama called Ankia Nat and Bhaona, which is replete of music, drama and dance. After Sankaradeva’s demise in 1568 A.D., the latter apostolate and sattra residents skillfully adopted the pursuit of this dance form and because of the artistic innovations of the maestros and sattras, the scholars named this dance form as Sattriya.

Characteristic features of Sattriya Dance :

  • Mahapurush Madhavadeva introduced a new feature to this dance form where one can see the flavour of Purusha (male) and Prakriti (female) in its presentation with totally different attire and accessories, usually performed by the same artist.

  • The dance is also characterized by the soft footed nature of the steps, graceful bodily movements and the local terminologies of the hand gestures.

  • When we talk of the music of Sattriya it is quite different from the Hindustani and Carnatic music, which is another unique feature.

  • It also follows the principles mentioned in the Natya treatises of India like any other Indian Classical dance forms.

  • The basic training of Sattriya dance starts with the vigorous practice of mati-akhara (ground exercise).