Introduction of Sattriya Indian Classical Dance to Malaysians by KAVITA SUPRAMANIAM

Sattriya — the dance of the monks the truest expression of a people is in its dance and its music. Bodies never lie. 

It is believed that the origin of theatre art in India was the work of God. Brahma, the creator, was asked to give mankind a fifth Veda, which, unlike the four earlier Vedas in Sanskrit, would be easily understood by everyone. Brahma created the Natya Veda with the assistance of other gods and taught the mythic sage Bharatha who recorded his teachings in the Natya Sastra. It became the foundational treatise of all classical forms of theatre and dance in India and is probably the world’s largest and most comprehensive art manual. There are eight classical dance forms in India based on the Natya Sastra. 

Sattriya, originating from Assam, was officially recognized by the Sangeet Natak Academy as the eighth classical dance form only at the beginning of the 21st century although it was performed exclusively by male monks in the Vaishnavaite monasteries known as Sattra for many centuries. The monks or bhokots, as they were referred to, used to describe the legends of Krishna from the Bhagavatha Purana in a dance-drama format as part of their daily rituals.

Overseas Exposer 

Sattriya gained popularity through the Vaishnava Bhakti movement and evolved as a classical art over the last five centuries. Over the years, Sattriya Nritya has received greater acceptance and patronage both outside the state of Assam, and outside India.

One of the Sattriya Nritya dancers promoting the dance art overseas is Madam Kavitha Supramaniam from Malaysia. Madam Kavitha Supramanaim is an accomplished dancer; learning the art under the close guidance of her esteemed Guru Preeti Chowdhury of Assam

Her burning desire for dance made her explore not just Bharatanatyam & Odissi, but into another ancient dance form called Sattriya. 

Performing the dance art on many international stages, she gains a wide range of recognition including the esteemed Chidambaresa Natya Kalaimani & the Guinness World Record for Dance. It wasn't enough as she wanted to keep learning and exploring more.

The art form that requires performers to immerse themselves in the role and tell a story like a stage drama in a dance form captures the heart & soul of Kavitha Supramaniann; to introduce this unknown danceart form to Malaysian audience.

Quote ‘Performing Sattriya makes me happy as I can fully immerse myself in a role and perform as if I am that character. I change from one character to another within minutes as I perform solo. I am Ravana and I am Sita. It feels like having multiple personalities within minutes. As American dancer Merce Cunningham said, “You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.” Unquote

She does also one class for those who want to learn it at her studio in collaboration with several Sattriya Dance Schools in India. Interestingly she is also a well-qualified Yoga Master and Ayurveda Massage Treatment where she focuses on Chakra & Sound healing treatment.

According to her,

Quote:// ‘It benefits in finding your purpose, helps to keep an organized mind, clarity in decision making, calmness boosts self-esteem and many more. One piece of advice that I would like to give others is age is not a barrier for one to learn anything including art forms. One needs to have a positive mindset. Also, stop discussing or getting advice from those who always speak of life constrain in a destructive form. Trust yourself!

One thing that is always in my mind is when you focus on one thing that you want to do; you can do it regardless of what it is. When you don't have self-confidence, that's when everything you have built so far will be ruined. You need to trust yourself first before you start to trust others. Then you will be creating miracles.

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