audiya Nritya is a classical Bengali school of Indian classical dance.
THE CLASSICAL TEXT ON INDIAN DRAMATURGY, THE NATYASHASTRA OF BHARATA, DOES NOT MENTION ANY OF THE CLASSICAL DANCE FORMS RECOGNIZED TODAY, BUT IN IT’S FOURTEENTH CHAPTER ARE THE FOUR PRAVITTIS: DAKSHINATYA, AUDRAMAGADHI, AVANTI AND PUNCHALI.
During British colonial rule, all these traditional forms declined. It was only around the middle of the 20th century that attention came to be drawn to these dance forms, and they were then gradually revived and re-established on the foundation of their traditional heritage.
Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniattam were evolved from the Pravritti named Dakshinatya. The Audramagadhi represents the dance of Audramagadha: Anga, Banga, North part of Kalinga and Vatsa. This was then a form that was extended over the eastern region. From this originated Odissi in Orissa, Satriya in Assam and Gaudiya in Bengal. About the two other forms Avanti and Panchali, little is known.
GAUDIYA NRITYA WAS RE-ESTABLISHED WITH THE HELP OF NOT ONLY THE NATYASHASTRA BUT ALSO THE SRIHASTAMUKTAVALI AND THE SANGEET DAMODARA BY PUNDIT SHUBHANKARA. STRONG REFERENCES TO THIS DANCE FORM EXIST IN MATANGA’S BRIHADDESHI, SANGEET RATNAKARA OF SARANGADEVA AND REGIONAL TEXTS LIKE THE ABHINAYACHANDRIKA BY MAHESAVARA MAHAPATRA.
It has also strong evidences in the temple sculptures as early as the 4th century B.C. to as late as the18th century. Many references supporting the existence of dance forms in ancient Bengal are to be found also in literature. In the story on Behula, given in the Manasa Mangal Kavya, we come across an instance of a housewife of the soil of Bengal dancing in the court of Lord Indra, the king of the Gods. In Vijaya Gupta’s Manasa Mangal there is a description of Ananda-Tandava dance of Shiva. And the Devadasi tradition existed in Bengal from ancient times in temples in the region.
We know of the devadasi dancers of Gauda Banga the time of the Pala dynasty from Ramcharita Kavya. Padmavati, the wife of poet Jayadeva, (12th century A.D.) is also said to have been a classical dancer.
THE VISUAL GRANDEUR, WHICH COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE CAPTURED IN WORDS, WAS IMMORTALIZED BY SCULPTURES IN METAL, STONE WOOD AND CLAY. THE UNBASHED BEAUTY OF THIS GLORIOUS DANCE TRADITION IS CONVEYED THROUGH SEVERAL SCULPTURAL REPRESENTATIONS FOUND IN MANY TEMPLES AND PRESERVED IN THE MUSEUMS OF BENGAL.