Sattriya

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Sattriya Dance has its origin in the Sattras of Assam
Sattriya dance performance
Sattriya Dancer Krishnakshi Kashyap in a traditional Sattriya Dance costume made of Assam Pat silk and traditional Assamese jewellery

Sattriya or Sattriya Nritya (Assamese: সত্ৰীয়া নৃত্য), is one of the eight principal classical Indian dance traditions of Assam in India. Sattriya has remained a living tradition since its creation by the founder of Vaishnavism in Assam, the great saint Srimanta Sankardev, in 15th century Assam. He created Sattriya Nritya as an accompaniment to the Ankia 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 known as Sattriya Nritya.

Quotes[edit]

  • Sattriya, a dance from the far eastern state of Assam in India,… emerges from a five hundred years old comprehensive theatre tradition nurtured in the Vaishnav Monasteries of Assam.
  • Sattriya is revealed as a living, evolving tradition, rooted in the philosophy and vision of saint-preacher-reformer-artist-composer Sankaradeva (1499-1568). The history of the bhakti movement behind the rise of Sattriya, the socio-cultural-religious context.
  • Built upon the foundation of bhakti, it has the same all-inclusive approach. Centred on Ankiya Nat and [w:Bhaona|Bhaona]] ( dramatic representation), many of its features can be traced back to Natya Sastra – the Odramaghada- padathi mentioned therein, refers to styles practised in eastern/north-eastern India, which include Odisha and Kamarupa (Assam). Several features of Sattriya find place in Abhinayadarpana, Sangitha Ratnakara, Kalikapurana and Sri Hastamuktavali.
    • Chitra Visweswaran in "Dance as a daily offering."
  • The most unique aspect of the arts that are nurtured at the sattras (literally meaning Holy areas) is that they are part of a living cultural tradition.
    • By Arshiya Sethi in "sattriya: the redefining of a tradition."
  • like many of the other Classical Dance forms of India, [it] has been extracted from a larger body of theatrical practices that constitute the Ankiya Bhaona form.
    • By Arshiya Sethi in "sattriya: the redefining of a tradition."
  • The Regional Arts’ Authority, the Assam Academy for the Arts, (Assam Sangeet Natak Akademi) described it as Sattriya, or belonging to the sattras. This is a more dynamic and organic term that takes cognizance of the contributions of later devotees, making spaces for the evolution of the form.
    • By Arshiya Sethi in "sattriya : the redefining of a tradition."
  • The origin of thought and movement lie, in the case of Sattriya, you have to locate it in the deeply rooted, shared belief system of the ‘Bhakti Marg’.
    • By Arshiya Sethi in "sattriya : the redefining of a tradition."
  • With the exception of the Ojapali (this is one of the pre-Vaishnav dance forms that the Vaishnav culture drew from) inspired segments, which predate the establishment of Sattras, the dance form of Sattriya is mostly culled out of the Ankiya Bhaona tradition that has a distinct vernacular vocabulary for theatrical communication and a sense of regional identity.
    • By Arshiya Sethi in "sattriya : the redefining of a tradition."
  • This particular dance form is ‘non-texted’. Teaching and pedagogy has been through oral transmission, and memory has been the key-conserving factor.
    • By Arshiya Sethi in "sattriya : the redefining of a tradition."
  • For centuries, when it remained a preserve of men, it followed a careful stance and kinetic demarcation between the sexes. This demarcation continues even today, enriching the grammar of the dance, although women have taken to the form and require no specific indication of gender roles.
    • By Arshiya Sethi in "sattriya : the redefining of a tradition."
  • The dance style is sensitive to the world, the musical note and the rhythmic beat. It treats the body in halves, with the lower part interpreting rhythms while the upper part moves around the arc and diagonal chords, to the melody. It has an abhinaya, or expressional tradition, that uses the body the face the micro-features and hand gestures in addition to costume to interpret the song, poem or the emotion.
    • By Arshiya Sethi in "sattriya : the redefining of a tradition."
  • The distinctive Sattriya abhinaya defies elitist leanings by depicting activities like fighting, eating, slaying, killing etc. which were frowned upon by the Sanskrit texts.
    • By Arshiya Sethi in "sattriya : the redefining of a tradition."
Sattriya Dance has its origin in the Sattras of Assam
  • The most important feature therefore of this dancer’s form is that its text is constantly evolving and gets ‘texted’ on the dancers body, and inspired by his immediate frame of reference. That is the reason why many of the hand gestures, central to Indian dance, have evolved from local traditions and bear vernacular names (Hairi Haath, Mishing Bihu Haath, Chhatradhari Haath, Roja Haath, Mujura Haath and Rati Haath). The same holds true of the gaits called Khoz, which go by names such as Balimahi (wagtail), Mukuti (egret) and Buguli (crane).
    • By Arshiya Sethi in "sattriya : the redefining of a tradition."
  • In the year 2000, this dance form was declared a ‘major dance tradition of India’ at par with all major dance traditions of India, which are loosely called the Classical dances of India.
    • By Arshiya Sethi in "sattriya : the redefining of a tradition."
  • The identity of any dance is incomplete without the music that accompanies it. The unique raga tala pattern of Sattriya music, the two categories of Sattriya vocal (raga based and light ), variations of presentation for different occasions at different sattras, musical instruments, as also unique features such as Gayan Bayan who sing, dance and initiate a traditional Sattriya performance.
    • Chitra Visweswaran in "Dance as a daily offering."
  • The practitioners of the arts [are] as being arranged in the alignment of a tree. The deep roots are the body of the sattras and the monks therein, who have preserved the art form over five centuries. The trunk is the monks who have renounced sattra life in their mature phase, after training authentically at the sattras and are now available without any religious duties and restrictions, for the promotion of the arts. The branches are many, and these are the urban, educated, often English speaking, articulate modern women who have taken to the dance in the last four decades. They have become the new voice for the form, even if their association with the wellspring, the institution of the sattras is merely formal.
    • By Arshiya Sethi in "sattriya : the redefining of a tradition."
  • Prejudice against impersonating women and the fear of ridicule are considered to have contributed to the decline in interest of male performers. Perceived lack of feasibility and limited employment opportunities through dance are other reasons. I have a dance school and only three in a class of 200 students are male
    • Dulal Roy, culture exponent and project director Sattriya Kendra, Sangeet Natak Akademi quoted in Dance as a daily offering. The Hindu (23 September 2013). Retrieved on 18 January 2014.

External links[edit]

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