The dance traditions in Assam have historic antecedents. There are references to histrionic arts of Pragjyotishputra (an old name of Assam) in the Natya Shastra. They include Ankiya Nat, Ojapali and Nati dances. The Sattriya dances emerged from this as did solo presentations like the Chali dance - the dance of the royal house.
Natya Shastra by Bharata details holistic theatre including dance, music, costume. Nandikeswara concentrates on dance, with a sharp focus on mime in his 'Abhinaya Darpana' to the marginalisation of music, costume or stage setup. Later works on dance like 'Hastalakshana Deepika' and 'Hasta Muktavali' followed this concentration on mime. 'Abhinaya Darpana" by Nandikeswara was also the only work translated into Tamil verse in the 19th century as 'Abhinaya Navaneetam'.
SOPANAM (Sa + upa + yaanam = the way upwards) means the steps leading to the inner sanctum of Kerala's temples where devotional songs and religious compositions are sung. This music which has evolved during the past 1000 years or more now manifests itself in the music of Kathakali.
Mohiniattam dancers using sopana sangeet, the indigenous music of Kerala, today use the shuddha maddalam. Vallathol felt that the lasya qualities of Mohiniattam was best brought out by the use of thoppi maddalam and mridangam.

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