GUWAHATI- Eminent exponent of Assam’s classical Sattriya dancer and Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee Garima Hazarika passed away at age of 83, here on Friday due to old age ailments, her family sources said. She is survived by her son, daughter-in-law and a grandchild.
Her husband Krishnamurthi Hazarika, who too was a classical dancer, had predeceased her. Credited with pioneering the entry of women Sattriya dancers on the stage, Hazarika was also proficient in Odissi and kathak dance forms.
The Sattriya dance form was earlier confined to the ‘sattras’ or Vaishnav monasteries and practised by its male inmates. Hazarika had worked relentlessly with the help of eminent scholar Maheswar Neog to take the dance form to the world and train women to perform it on the stage.
She is also credited with designing costumes for Sattriya dance in a form more suitable for the stage.
Hazarika had started learning kathak from a very young age from Guru Charu Bordoloi and later went on to learn Sattriya from Guru Rosheshwar Saikia and Borbayan Ghana Kanta Bora of Kamlabari Sattra.
She studied in Delhi School of Art and stayed in the national capital till 1968. There she met Odissi danseuse Indrani Rehman and realised that there were several similarities between the dance forms of both the states.
She went on to learn Odissi dance from Guru Surendra Nath Jena and was his first disciple from Assam.
On her return to the state, Hazarika founded the Mitali Kala Kendra, an institution for classical and traditional dances, where costume designing, set designing, painting, mask-making, make-up, choreography and art direction were also taught.
She was actively involved in choreography, stage and costume designing in various mobile theatres of the state and went on to compose 16 dance dramas for performance.
Hazarika was the dance director in 16 Assamese films.
She served as a member of several cultural organisations, including the prestigious Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra Society, Lalit Kala Akademi, Sankardeva Study and Sattriya Cultural organisation, Programme Advisory Committee of Doordarshan, Craft Council of Assam and the Film Certification panel.
The eminent dancer was conferred several awards including the Sangeet Natak Akademi, Assam Silpi Divas and Assam Natya Sanmilan awards.
Condoling her death, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the state has lost a prominent cultural personality.
”I pray for the peace of the departed soul and extend my deepest condolences to the bereaved family,” he said.
Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in his condolence message said that her lifelong dedication to the field of dance has greatly enriched the cultural scene and her demise is a great loss for the state.
In a statement, Sangeet Sattra fraternity expresses their condolences to the departed soul, Garima Hazarika, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award Winner, Sattriya and Odissi dance exponent.