Sattriya Dance: The classical dance of Assam

Sattriya dance is a genre of dance drama that tells mythical and religious stories through hand and face expressions. The basic dance unit and exercise of a Sattriya is called a Mati Akhara. The Akharas are subdivided into Ora, Saata, Jhalak, Sitika, Pak, Jap, Lon and Khar. A performance integrates two styles, one masculine (Paurashik Bhangi, energetic and with jumps), and feminine (Stri Bhangi, Lasya or delicate).

This classical Indian dance was cultivated as a form of worship in the Sattras and the Namghars by the male Bhokots as a part of religious rituals and for spreading the philosophy of Vaishnavism. The monks trace the origin of their art form to Sankardeva, the 15th century founder of Assamese ‘Neo-Vaishnavism’, a religion that venerates the Indian god Vishnu, particularly in his incarnation as the flute-playing Krishna. The monks dance in his honour and narrate playful, sensuous and fantastical episodes of his life as recounted in the ancient epics. A revolutionary change took place, when female dancers started performing this art form, which was earlier prohibited.


Young girls performing dance drama on the life of Lord Krishna


Girl playing the role of demon Putana


Girl playing the role of Yashoda(Mother of Lord Krishna)


Sattriya Dance


Sattriya Dance


Boy playing the role of Balram( Brother of Lord Krishna)


Boy playing the role of Lord Krishna

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