Lāsya In Classical Dance
In Indian classical dance the terms Tān̥d̥ava and Lāsya are very important element in Śuddha Nr̥tta part. Sage Bharata in his authoritative book on Indian dramaturgy defines Tān̥d̥ava as the dances of Lord Shiva and Lāsya created by Parvati, the consort of Shiva. In Later period these terms are commonly explained as Tān̥d̥ava , the movements for masculine grace and as Lāsya for feminine grace.
In this project an attempt will be made to explore and explain the Lāsya element in Sattrīyā dance. In the context of Lāsya style, the Abhinayadarpana says Goddess Pārvati taught Lāsya to Us̥ā, the daughter of the King Bān̥a, of Śonitpura( i.e., ancient Assam), Lāsya reached to the Gopī-s of Dwāraka, the women of Sa͡urāstra and ultimately to the women of all regions.
‘parvatītvanuśāsti sma Lāsyam vānātmajāmus̥ām
tayā dvāravatīgopyastābhih saurās̥t̥rayos̥ith
tāvhistu tattaddeśīyas̥tadasisyanta yos̥itah’
It is therefore, obvious that although the above phrase is traditional, it indicates the prevalence of the Lāsya type of dancing in ancient Kāmarupa i.e., Assam.
The work Nāt̥yaśāstra has categorized various dance forms in region-wise, in the form of four Pravr̥tti-s. The Odra-māghadhi is mentioned as prevalent in north eastern part of the country. The region included Anͦga, Banͦga, Kalinͦga, Videha, Nepāla, Tamralipta and Prāgjyotis̥apura (the ancient name of present Assam). Within the mentioned region we have the dance forms like Odissi, Manipuri and Sattrīyā. It is seen that in these classical dance form the Lāsya style of dancing is more predominant which is a characteristic feature of Odra-māghadhi style.
After the oldest modes have been set forth and explained by Bharata, his immediate followers began codifying and describing the additional sequences in their treatises like – the Br̥haddeśī, the Sanͦgītaratnakara, the Abhinayadarpana, the Nr̥tta ratnavali etc. which supplemented the classical traits and provided as a source of various aspects of dance elements. On the basis of techniques of Nr̥tta , Śārnͦgadeva defines Lāsya in three categories –
- Vis̥ama : by using of horizontal and circular Bhramari-s, slanted movements and special foot works , this style is performed.
- Vikat̥a: the dance form where laya, taal and bhāva-s exhibited while performing.
- Laghu: by producing sound on earth by anklets and Anchita Kunchita pādvinyas this Laghu variety is performed.
The qualities of Lāsya style described in ancient treatises will be discussed in the proposed project.