When Art meets technology - magic happens!
- Reetoopan K
December 6, 2020
Sattriya Divas is celebrated every year on Nov 15th to commemorate the recognition received by this dance form as a major dance tradition by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. This year too, this event was celebrated with much fervor with various Sattriya festivals and workshops throughout the state of Assam and outside - this year being the special twentieth anniversary.
In the capital city of New Delhi, dance institution Sattriya Nrityasala (a unit of Satkara and affiliated under Sangeet Sattra Pariksha Parishad, Guwahati) is run by Sattriya dancer Meenakshi Medhi, who is active in spreading the beauty of the Sattriya dance form through workshops, lec-dems, seminars etc. "Unleashing the spirit of Sattriya" as Satkara prides itself in, Meenakshi and her team have been responsible for many events of Sattriya held across the country. Through her Sattriya dance school, Meenakshi has been training students from all age groups and of various nationalities as well.
While many students of the current generation, who are interested in Sattriya, can learn this dance easily in Assam, it is difficult for those enthusiasts of dance who are outside the state. Additionally, as Sattriya tries to gain its foot in the league of its 7 other predecessors - Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam, Manipuri, Bharatanatyam and Odissi - it had become necessary to reach out to the general public beyond schools and dance festivals.
In today's age of millennials and Gen Zs, YouTube, Google, mobile phones, augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence are those aspects of life, which we cannot be in denial of. Our children are glued to all of these. Many of these are being enabled through Coding - a subject that has gained a lot of prominence this year, especially with the announcement of the new Education Policy. Many private institutions are offering online courses to young students. We will not delve into how good or beneficial are these courses as that is a separate topic. However, what these courses have done is developed an awareness of Coding among the children.
As you read through this piece, you must be wondering as to how these two aspects - Sattriya and Coding - are even remotely connected. Well, apparently they are. A 12-year-old student of Sattriya Nrityasala, who is in her second year of graduation in dance and has been learning Sattriya since the age of 7 years, Anuradha Kaushik from Noida has made it happen. A student of Std VII from G.D. Goenka School, Noida, Anuradha has enrolled herself in Coding through Whitehat Jr for the past year and a half. Since this year, she has also started learning Coding in her school. Anuradha has ideated and conceptualized an app called Sattriya Darshan for Android devices. She also plans to take it to IOS users by Q1, 2021.
This app was launched virtually on the facebook page of Satkara and the app is now available on the Google Playstore. The launch was applauded by the stalwarts of Sattriya culture and many eminent scholars/dancers from India - Nrityacharya Jatin Goswami, Dr. Sunil Kothari, Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, Sattradhikar Janardan Deva Goswami, Swapnanil Barua, Jayant Kastuar, Ratan Hazarika, Ashok Jain, Adhyapak Manik Bora Borbayan, Adhyapak Haricharan Bhuyan Borbayan, Anita Sharma, Dr. Mallika Kandali, Dr. Karabi Deka Hazarika, Ranjumoni Saikia, Avinash Pasricha, Rinjumoni Saikia, Dr. Arshiya Sethi and Adhyapak Muhikanta Bora Borbayan.
On the occasion, there were two mesmerizing Sattriya performances by eminent Sattriya and Odissi exponent Preetilekha Chowdhury from Mumbai, and Pallab Borah from Bhogpur Sattra, Titabor, Jorhat. The occasion was also made memorable by a delightful performance on the khol, by Arunabh Jyoti Malakar who was accompanied by Juri Das on cymbal.
The Sattriya Darshan app has many elements to it - from the origins of the dance, foundation of Sattriya dance (with details of all the Mati Akhoras), the overall repertoire of Sattriya, music in Sattriya dance, defining moments of the Sattriya journey, and a brief about Satkara. There are two tabs, the content for which will be released shortly - that will include the literature of Sattriya and many interesting facets under Coming Soon. The app has contributions from eminent scholars and dancers like Dr. Sunil Kothari, Dr. Mallika Kandali, Adhyapak Muhikanta Bora Borbayan and renowned photographer Avinash Pasricha.
The Sattriya Darshan app is another step to bring Sattriya out of the demesnes of the Sattras and make it accessible to the general public. Weaving technology and culture together, this app hopes to bring Sattriya to the masses in general and we hope that Satkara will be successful in this endeavor.
Interested art lovers can download the app