Saptaswa presented Nrityakalpa to celebrate World Dance Day
- Jintu Sarma

May 21, 2014
Saptaswa, the rays of performing arts, is a socio-cultural organization of Tezpur, Assam, a city of cultural repute. The founder of the organization is Dr. Pratibha Sharma, a promising Sattriya artist trained under eminent Guru Jatin Goswami, a recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi award and Padma Shri. The vision of the organization is to promote the cultural heritage of Assam and to participate in various activities for development of Indian cultural ethos. Presently, classical dance festival is organized on national level as there are very less number of such type of events organized in Assam compared to other states of India. One most important thing is that only those programs which are performed in Guwahati are focused on by the media.

Saptaswa celebrates World Dance Day with a colourful festival of Indian classical dance titled Nrityakalpa every year in the month of April since 2011. Like past couple of years, this time also Saptaswa celebrated World Dance Day on 26th and 27th April 2014. The festival saw the same kind of sprit and enthusiasm from the audience, art lovers and participating artists on both the days. The inauguration of the evening was started by lighting of the lamp by Swapnanil Baruah, Commissioner of Culture, Govt. of Assam with a very brief lecture. The inaugural day started with Gayan Bayan, a traditional performance of the Vaishnav Sattriya tradition by Guru Gobind Mahanta and his disciples.  The rhythm of khol and taal attracts the audience. They turned the people into a devotional world through their rhythmic movements. This was followed by a Mangalacharan of Odissi dance by Purabi Baruah Talukdar and Plabana Mahanta, artist of Kashinath Krishnapriya Institute of Performing Art, Tezpur. The institute is headed by Guru Madhurima Goswami, an Assistant Professor of Department of Cultural Studies, Tezpur University.

Next was a Kathak recital by Pooja Gupta of Guwahati. She performed on a theme that the human heart keeps searching for fulfillment in worldly objects. The concept and choreography was by Pooja Gupta herself, music was composed by Dr. Tapash Paul. The fourth performance of the evening was a masterful Manipuri dance by Bibhul Kanta Singha from Guwahati.  A post graduate of Philosophy from Assam University, he started his performance with a Mangalacharan, a composition of Kavi Joy Deb. After that, a very graceful performance was presented by his disciple Shiny Singha on Harinam Mahatya.  The concluding item of the first evening was a Sattriya dance by Dimpee Baishya. She started with traditional Gopi Naach followed by a composition on Baman Avtar designed and choreographed by her Guru Jatin Goswami. The item was highly appreciated for its choreography and presentation elegance.

On the second day, inauguration was done by Dr. Madhurima Goswami with her brief lecture. The opening event set the tone with a heartwarming Sattriya dance recital by students of Saptaswa along with the founder. The program began with a piece of Sutradhari dance followed by a sloka on Kalia Daman and traditional Chali nach with grace, devotion and emotive expressions. An abhinaya was also performed on the first poem written by Srimanta Sankardeva. Traditional part was designed and choreographed by Dr. Pratibha Sharma and abhinaya part by Guru Jatin Goswami and Provakar Goswami. The dancers were Dr. Pratibha Sharma, Ananya Hazarika, Prerona Baishya, Madhusmriti Bisaya, Prayashi Bharadwaj, Kadambari Das and Megh Mallika Bora.

The second item was an Odissi dance by Sarbani Nandi from Agartala, Tripura. She started with a Mangalacharan of Shiva followed by a Pallavi. It was an elegant and graceful performance. Next was Kathak by Ritamani Das and Minu Das of Guwahati. They performed traditional Kathak numbers first followed by an abhinaya based on a thumri. Overall performance of the duo was nice but they have to concentrate more on the abhinaya. Next was a Kuchipudi presentation by Boby Chakraborty of Udaypur, Tripura, giving a different flavour to the program. She is the one and only Kuchipudi performer of North East India. She started her performance with Satyabhama Pravesa Daruvu, a small part of Bhama Kalapam where Satyabhama, the main protagonist of the play, makes her entry on the stage. Bhama or Satyabhama is a proud heroine (manini nayika). In this piece, she boasts about being the daughter of the mighty king Satrajit, about her beauty, her riches and the special place she holds amongst Krishna’s wives. This item was set to ragam Vairabi and talam mishra chapu. This was followed by an item set to music composed by maestro Ravi Shankar. She ended her performance with Tarangam “Marakatha manimaya chela” composed by Oothukkadu Venkatasubbaiyer in praise of Lord Krishna. The item ends with an enthralling piece of dance on a brass plate with intricate foot movements, typical of the Kuchipudi style. It was a breathtaking performance. Concluding item of the festival was a Sattriya number by Sangita Phukan, an ebullient dancer from Guwahati, who is also a teacher. She joyfully invoked a Nandi, an item choreographed by her Guru Jatin Goswami. This was followed by a composition named Krishna Krida based on a Borgeet of Srimanta Shankardeva choreographed by Anita Sharma. She expressed different plays of Krishna with Gopa Balaka perfectly. It was an engaging performance.

Apart from this festival, Saptaswa initiates different events in different places of Assam,  organising many workshops and cultural evenings, despite financial constraints. This is the time to boost such organizations so they can continue to spread awareness about the beauty of our culture.