Thursday, 2 July 2015

Most Popular Classical Dance of Assam

Assam has an age-old strong tradition of music and dance. The heritage of Classical dance in Assam goes back a long time in history.   In Bharata's Natya Sastra (2nd century B.C.) the name of ‘Pragjyotishpura' (modern Assam) indicates that the dance ‘Odramagadhi' was practiced here. Supposedly when the Chinese traveler ‘Hiuen Tsang' visited the Kamrupa king Bhaskarvarmana in the 7th century, he was entertained with music and dances every day for one month.

Dance culture of Assam also represent another facet of Assam rich culture. There are two well known dance form in Assam, namely the Bihu Dance and the Sattriya Dance. Bihu dance is mostly performed during the Bihu festival and Sattriya Dance is a classical form of dance often termed together with the most popular classical dance of India like Kathak, Bharatnatyam etc.      

Bihu Dance

Bihu is the most popular folk dance of Assam. The people of Assam are very proud of it and rightly so. Except Bhangra no other folk dance in India can compete with the rythmic exuberance of Bihu. Bihu dances performed by young boys and girls characterised by brisk stepping, flinging and flipping of hands and swaying of hips represents youthful passion, reproductive urge and 'Joie-de-vivre'.

Sattriya Dance 

Sattriya Dance is the art form that epitomises the dance culture of Assam. It was recently recognised as a classical dance form and it is among the finest of the classical dances of India. An Assamese religious reformer, Sri Shankardev, preached a unique philosophy of a new Vaishnavism and from it grew the particular dance.

Oja-Pali Dance

Oja-Pali is a classical dance form of Assam, representing the rich tradition and cultural heritage of the state. Oja and Pali are actually the groups of chorus singers and dancers, with Oja as the leader and Palis as his assistants. A total of three or four Palis may be required for the dance and the principal one among them is called the Daina Pali. Apart from dancing, they also sing and play small cymbals, relating stories from the Epics and the Puranas.

Bodo's Bagurumba Dance

Bodo community has many folk dances to boast. Among them the best and the most attractive is the Bagurumba dance. This is mainly a formation dance with slow steps and outstretched hands. About a score of girls dressed in most colourful attire perform this dance to the accompany- merit of Bodo traditional musical instruments. A tourist in Assam can see this dance in the Bodo inhabited areas of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Nalbari, Darrang and Sonitpur districts.

Bhaona- Bhoana Dance

Bhaona- Bhoana was first created by Srimanta Sankardev. He is considered as the great saint of Assam who tried to unite all the people irrespective of cast and creed. He was born in 1449 at Bardowa, Nagaon in Assam. Bhaona is a religious ritual in which roles of different God and Demons (Ashuras) are performed by the people wearing masks.

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