Oli Jerang: A devotee of Indian classical dance

[Prafulla Kaman]

RUKSIN, 12 Nov: Oli Jerang has been stepping ahead with untiring efforts to become an icon of Indian classical dance, exposing her cultural talent through the Sattriya dance, which originated in the Viashnav culture.

The 28-year-old girl, hailing from Rayang village in East Siang district, has a strong determination to reach her destination, “overcoming all odds of the tribal society, which does not prefer Vaishnavism or ethnic culture of other Indian communities.”

Jerang did her primary and secondary education in Rayang, and later went to the State Music College in Guwahati (Assam), and passed the bachelor of music course, taking Kathak dance as her major subject, in 2019. She completed her master’s degree in performing arts from the Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardev University in Assam this year.

Sattriya dance was introduced in the 15th century AD, after the emergence of the Vaishnava saint and reformer of Assam, Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardev. The Sangeet Natak Akademi of India recognised Sattriya dance as an Indian classical dance in 2020. The modern Sattriya dances explore many themes and plays, and their performances are staged worldwide.

Jerang is the lone artiste from Arunachal Pradesh who practices Sattriya dance. She is also working for promotion of the folkdances of the ethnic tribes of Arunachal.

The young artist participated in the National Festival of Indian Classical Dances, held in Guwahati in 2019, where she was honoured with the ‘Nartan Surabhi Sanman’ for performing Sattriya dances.

She also participated in a number of national-level cultural events organised by Dimapur (Nagaland)-based North East Zonal Cultural Centre, and other organisations working under the culture ministry.

Jerang was earlier selected for the ‘Young Artist Scholarship’, sponsored by the Centre for Cultural Research & Training, after she qualified in the Cultural Talent Search Examination-2018, conducted in Udaipur, Rajasthan.

Apart from practicing Sattriya dance, Jerang has learnt the folkdances of other tribes of the region.

These days she is preparing to appear for the National Eligibility Test in Sattriya dance, and to pursue a doctorate degree (PhD) in Indian arts forms, especially in the tribal culture.