Culture, Community, and the Classroom: Ritual, Dance, Theatre – An Introduction to Sattriya

By asking students to dig deeper than they usually might to consider their personal traditions and identities and sharing their responses with the artist, this teacher created a pathway to a deep connection between students and the artist. During their planning conversations, the teacher and the artist found similarities in their passions, drama and dance, and developed a close rapport. The teacher introduced the artist by asking students to read her Artist Statement and closely observe her Artist Portrait, which the artist developed during the summer workshop. This allowed them to inventory their assumptions and prepare questions.
Chromebooks/Shared Google Docs, Worksheets, Madhu’s Artist Statement, Google Browser for Student Research

A Culture, Community, and the Classroom Lesson by teacher Andrea Roney, with artist Madhusmita Bora.

TITLE: An Introduction to Sattriya, A Monastic Tradition from NE India with North Penn High School Drama Major Class

Andrea Roney is a high school drama teacher at North Penn High School in Lansdale, PA.

Madhu Bora is a storyteller, a Sattriya practitioner, an activist, and one of the co-directors of Sattriya Dance Company. (

LENGTH: Multiple 45-minute classes over two months

Find the complete lesson plans in the sidebar under “Downloads.”

Hear the teacher and artist reflect on this set of lessons and the opportunity to work together:

National Core Arts Core Standards – Theatre


  • HS Accomplished. Evidence/Conceptualization. TH:Cr1.1.1. a. Apply basic research to construct ideas about the visual composition of a drama/theatre work.
  • HS Accomplished. Evidence/Conceptualization. TH:Cr2.1.1. a. Refine a dramatic concept to demonstrate a critical understanding of historical and cultural influences of original ideas applied to a drama/theatre work.


  • High School Accomplished. Reflect. TH: Re7.1.II. a. Demonstrate an understanding of multiple interpretations of artistic criteria and how each might be used to influence future artistic choices of a drama/theatre work.
  • High School Advanced. Reflect. TH: Re7.1.III. a. Use historical and cultural context to structure and justify personal responses to a drama/theatre work.
  • High School Accomplished. Interpret. TH: Re9.1.II. b. Apply concepts from a drama/theatre work for personal realization about cultural perspectives and understanding.
  • High School Advanced. Interpret. TH: Re9.1.III. b. Use new understandings of cultures and contexts to shape personal responses to drama/theatre work
  • High School Accomplished. Interpret. TH: Re9.1.II. c. Debate and distinguish multiple aesthetics, preferences, and beliefs through participation in and observation of drama/theatre work.
  • High School Advanced. Interpret. TH: Re9.1.III. c. Support and explain aesthetics, preferences, and beliefs to create a context for critical research that informs artistic decisions in a drama/theatre work
  • High School Accomplished. Evaluate. TH: Re9.1.II. a. Analyze and assess a drama/theatre work by connecting it to art forms, history, culture, and other disciplines using supporting evidence and criteria.
  • High School Advanced. Evaluate. TH: Re9.1.II. a. Research and synthesize cultural and historical information related to a drama/theatre work to support or evaluate artistic choices.