Famous Bihu Dance
Fast Steps, Sudden Enchatment
Dances of Assam have been the most important and most long standing tradition in Assamese culture. Assam has people belonging to many tribes, and each tribe have their own unique dance. Some tribe have dances for different occasions as well. The best places to witness their dances are in the many festivals taking place throughout the year. People of Assam consider their dances more than just a medium of expression, more than a medium of entertainment, dances are a part of their religion and believes. Apart from famous folk dances like Bihu Dance, the classical dance of Assam named Sattriya Dance which is one of the eight distinguished Indian classical dance.
Bihu dance is the most important folk dance of Assam. It receives its name after the famous Bihu festival of Assam of which, it is the main attraction. The dance is performed by both young men and young women. The dance is performed accompanied by Bihu folk music based on love theme which are generally dominated by men, though there are songs that are sung by women as well, Bihu dance is characterized by quick dance movements, swift hand steps and rhythmic swaying of the hips. Different tribes have made slight variation in the dance and have named it after their tribe like Garo Bihu Dance, and Khasi Bihu Dance.
Sattriya Dance is Assam's contribution to the list of Indian Classical Dances which now has 8 dances. It has been a part of Assam culture since 15th century. It became an inseparable part of different sattras. That is how the dance got the name Sattraiya Dance. With time, more people came to know about the dance and the base of its audience grew. The dance generally narrates mythological scenes. Sattriya Dance is an important ritual in monasteries and is daily performed by male monks of that monastery. Like all other classical dances, Sattriya too encompasses the three main features of a dance, Nritta (pure dance), Nritya (expressive dance) and Natya (abhinaya). The dance is accompanied by music called borgeets which are based on classical ragaas. The dance is still used as rituals by sattras.
Barpeta's Bhortal Nritya
Barpeta's Bhortal Nritya is basically a formation dance with around 6 to dancers, dancing in tandem. The history of the dance does not goes too far back and is developed by Narahari Burha Bbakat, who is a well known Sattriya Dancer. All the dancers carry a Cymbal with them and dance in many intriguing and intricate dance formation. The best place to witness a Bhortal Nritya is in and around Barpeta and Guwahati during special occasions.
Assam is a state where its people are very culturally inclined and like to keep their traditions alive. And dance of Assam have been a part of their culture since the beginning. Not only have they kept it alive but have put in lot of efforts to take it to the world. Sattriya Dance being considered as one of the foremost classical dance is the result of that effort.