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Dance like a Sattriya woman

art-and-culture Updated: Aug 07, 2010 01:12 IST
Ruchira Hoon
Ruchira Hoon
Hindustan Times
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Even before she could talk, Menaka PP Bora would itch to dance like her mother Indira PP Bora, a national award-winning classical dancer. Menaka would spy on her mother and her students dancing and practice the steps on her own. By nine, she had performed her arangetram in Bharatnatyam and by ten, Menaka knew she wanted to be a professional dancer.

She's come a long way since then. Winner of this year's Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar by the Sangeet Natak Akademi for her contribution of classical Sattriya dance, this talented young woman will be performing in Delhi next week as a part of Sangeet Natak Festival of music, dance and drama.

A scholar from the University of London and a lecturer at Kingston University, Menaka has used her talent to focus on Sattriya, a tribal dance form from Assam that has now been elevated to the status of a classical dance.

"One of the reasons I chose to focus on Sattriya is because of its rich and vibrant folk music and to break the prejudice people have towards the people of Assam and the Northeast," says this 30-year-old, who is pursuing PhD in dance.

"And while the dance is mainly performed by men, I wanted to show the world how beautiful it is."

The festival of music,dance and drama on from August 10 to 17, 6.30 pm onwards at Kamani Auditorium. Menaka will be performing on August 13 at 6.30 pm, Contact Kamani or Sangeet Natak Akademi at 23387246-48.