Dr. Anwesa Mahanta – A journey dedicated towards greater cultural excellence
By Miranda Choudhury,Assam,28 Sep 2020
A national award-winning dancer – the scholar, specializing in the field of Indian Classical Dance with premium solo concerts across several nations, Anwesa received accolades for her unique interpretations of the Sattriya Dance keeping intact the core philosophy of the form and its ritualistic practice. She is a disciple of the eminent maestro of Sattriya tradition,Bayanacharya Ghanakanta Bora, Padmashri, and daughter of renowned scholar Prof.PradipJyotiMahanta and litterateur Minati Choudhury. She has received accolades from the art connoisseurs and scholars for the grace and liveliness of her dance and the expressiveness of her abhinaya. Acclaimed as a “star ambassador to represent her art form on a global stage” she has been honored with the national award UstadBismillah Khan YuvaPuraskar from SangeetNatakAkademi for the year 2013-14 for her contributions in the field. She has also received the coveted “Charles Wallace Fellowship” from Charles Wallace India Trust and British Council to conduct research in Queen’s University Belfast.
Belonging to the Vaisnava monastery of Assam, Sattra, has been learning, researching and interpreting Sattriya dance, music and theatre since last 25 years under the guidance and of her Adhyapak. She has been an active performer since 2001, presenting Sattriya in its solo form and has also worked on many choreographic presentations of her own. She has performed extensively across India and also abroad (Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, England, Japan, Northern Ireland, Canada, USA, Sri Lanka, France, New Zealand etc.) appearing at many prestigious dance festivals. She has also been conducting workshops and also presented scholarly research papers in various prestigious symposiums and conferences of the country and outside and has taken efforts in sharing the aesthetics and poetics of Sattriya Dance, Music Theatre and Allied traditions and has several research publications to her credit.The New York Times, India West and the national media commented her work as “impressive”, “thrilling” and “superb” to mention a few. 
She is an ‘A’ grade artist in Sattriya dance of National Broadcasting Channel of India, Doordarshan and an empanelled artist of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). She has also received Guru KelucharanMohapatraYuva Award (2019) Bharat Kala Ratna (2018) Unique You Award for International Women’s Day (2017), Sankaradeva YuvaNrityaSamman,( 2015) for her contributions in the field. She was a Visiting Artist in Residence in IIT Guwahati teaching the students about Dance Aesthetics. Currently, she is also the Artistic Director of Kalpa, A Society for Promotion of Literature, Art, Culture and Social Harmony Pragjyoti International Dance Festival and heads Kalpavriksha – an Institute of Holistic learning of Sattriya Dance.
Anwesa has been pursuing dance, not merely as a pastime but as a chosen path of her growing and devotional journey. During this journey over the years she has been trying with utmost sincerity to enlarge the performance canvas and expand her repertoire constantly drawing resource material from the vast literary corpus of the Vaisnava Renaissance of Assam. She has thus carved a niche in the Sattriya Dance world with her outstanding performances drawing applause and appreciation from both the media and the cognoscenti and established an unfailing record of excellence in her performance career.
By Miranda Choudhury, an eminent Folk Singer & Member of ICCR from Guwahati, Assam. She is known for her cultural activity throughout India. A lady with the lamp to enlighten the world with cultural treasures of North East and Bengal. She is EDITOR – CULTURAL AFFAIRS & Folk Music for IBG NEWS too.