Heritage of Classical
dance in Assam is of remote origin. In Assamese
dances, Hastas (hand gestures), Shirokarma (movement of the head), Padachari
(foot work), Karana (posture), etc are performed after the manner of Natya
Shastra or Sanskrit treatises on dance. The foot-work in an Assamese classical
dance is extremely intricate and is called "Gati" or "Belan".
It always reflects the theme of the dance in its infinite variation, speed
and pattern. There are "Hasti Bulan", i.e. the slow majestic
steps of the elephant, "Ghora Bulan", i.e. the swift galloping
steps of the horse, "Maira Bulan", i.e. the majestic steps of
a peacock and so on. There are several kinds of "Karanas" or
"Bhanges", i.e. poses of the body in an Assamese dance. They
are expressive of meaning and require to be mastered by long practice.
Those postures of the body accompany the movements of the head, neck,
eyes and feet. The mastery of the movements is a matter of long practice
under expert guidance. The hand gestures is called "Hasta",
commonly known as Mudras. They are performed either with a single hand
(Asanguta Hasta) or with both the hands (Sanjuta Hasta). Those gestures
that are expressive of meaning are called "Shree Hastas" and
those performed only for the sake of beauty and rhythm are called "Nritta
Hastas". The combination of all the Hastas will be nearly one hundred.
The indigenous classical dance forms of Assam or Asamiya
Margi Nritya has been classified into;
(ii) Temple dances