Dance form: Sattriya

Sattriya

The Sattriya dance form originated from Assam in the 15th century. It is a classical form of dance that is highly religious and the spiritual aspect is the main feature of the dance form. Sattriya is known as one of the eight most recognized religious dance forms in India.

In the 15th century, Srimanta Shankardev, a poet and religious leader united the various sects of Assam through his teachings and established a universal social brotherhood of Neo-Vaishnavism through congregational prayer which included the music, the dance and the drama based on the life of Lord Krishna. It was derived from the word Sattra which means priory. Originally, the Sattriya dance form was performed by male monks traditionally in monasteries with khols or the drums, the taals or the cymbals, the flute and the violin. The main aim of performing a Sattriya was to tell mythical stories in a creative way. Telling stories and mythical teachings trhough a dance form was easier and more pleasant and entertaining. These dances were written and directed by the Assamese Vaishnava saint and social reformer Sankaradeva, and by his principal disciple Madhavadeva. They were mainly constituted during the 16th century.

In the 20th century the Sattriya dance form moved to an urban stage. It is now performed in large groups consisting of male as well as females. Certain principles are not followed but it yet remains one of the eight most important classical dances in India.

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