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Folk Dances of India

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Folk Dances of Bihar

Bidesia is a popular form of dance drama, originated in a twentieth century folk theatre and prevalent in the Bhojpuri-speaking region of Bihar.It is believed that the creator of this plays is Bhikari Thakur, a person barber by profession (from a backward class), left everything in affection of drama. His dramas are dealt with many social issues, contradictory topics & conflict between the traditional and the modern, the urban and rural, and the rich and the poor.

Not only hard hitting but delicate matters & emotional battles are also powered down in through Bidesia e.g. the emotions of birha or pangs of separation find expression in the Bidesia. Women left alone behind by their men who are away for earning a bread & butter in the city, sing through these songs. The train, sometimes represented as the other woman, the weather, the in-laws are all criticized in these songs.

The overall form of Bidesia has been made so effective through the medium of vibrant dances and evoking music and heart-touching stories that paints a realistic picture of olden days. In Bidesia, the female roles are played by the male actor-dancers. Normally, they wear dhoti or shirt trousers and for the appearance of long hair they use artificial means, in case of female roles.

Though there are many new means of communication & entertainment have developed, Bidesia remains the most popular and refreshing relaxation for the Bhojpuris.

In olden days, Bidesia was famous as it gave voice to many social concerned topics like the cause of poor laborers and tried to create awareness about the poor status of women in Bhojpuri society. Casteism and communalism are also handled with due care in the same cultural tunes. Sometimes, the tone of Bidesia is sarcastic in nature.

Bidesia plays and style of theatre is very popular for their rhythmic language, sweet songs and appealing music. These plays are a true reflection of Bhojpuri culture. Bhikari Thakur used satire and light-hearted comments to maximum effect to put forward his views on social ills and other problems plaguing Bhojpuri society.

Jat - Jatin Dance

Jat-Jatin Dance:
Jat-Jatin is the most popular folk dance of North Bihar, namely in Mithila and Koshi region. Usually, it is performed in a couple. The original theme of the dance explains the story of the lovers Jat and Jatin, who were separated and living in difficult situations. But now through "Jat Jatin" many social situations are also discussed like natural calamities situation like droughts and floods.

Many socially concern topics like poverty, sorrow, love, `Tu tu main main between lovers/husband all find its expression in this dance. In some versions of this, while performing dance, the performers wear masks to add a reality picture.

Jumari Dance

Jumari Dance:
Jumari Dance of Bihar is similar to that of "Garba performed in Gujarat". Only married women perform it. It is a folk dance of Mithilanchal of Bihar. As many other rituals that are performed by married women, it also signifies a good omen.

After the month of Ashvin coming in September-October Kartik comes. At this time, the sky is crystal clear, even there are no tresses of clouds. The full moon looking attractive, is spreading milky rays in all directions. This creates Maids in love go on dancing, singing and celebrating the turns of the season.

Kajari Dance

Kajari is a song of rainy season. The popular melodious tune of Kajari songs produces a sweet sensation in body and it is sung from beginning of the Shravan month with the rhythmic note of rainy drops. The main content of these songs is about describing pleasant change that is derived by rainy season. Not only nature get changed in green colour, but mental refreshment & relaxation that is associated with human beings is also well described in these kinds of songs.

Harvesting Dance

Harvesting Dance:

Agriculture is the main source of earning livelihood in Bihar. This fact is reflected in a better way from all kinds of folk arts. Harvesting is the main field activity while farming. In the harvesting season, male and female villagers do their work on field & dance with singing. It is believed that there happiness and joy is the symbol of upcoming good harvest. Such dances are closely connected with the local culture & tradition.

Sohar-Khilouna Dance:
This is a ceremonial dance to celebrate the pleasure of new birth in a family. The birth of a child is celebrated in all parts of the country with different traditional rituals. In Bihar, ladies always sing Sohar on the occasion of birth of a child.

While singing they praise the child with Lord Rama, sometimes with Lord Krishna and with many other gods. Sohar has its own distinctive diction. This is a very important function, where all women gather and enjoy. The ladies bless the baby while singing and acting the tender words of Sohar.

Sohar - Khilouna Dance

Jhijhian Dance

Paika Dance

Jhijhian Dance:

Jhijhian dance is also related to rain but its objective is different. It is sung when there is no rain for a long time than its usual arrival. Through `Jhijhian` villagers are portraying drought when there is not a single drop of rain anywhere, the lands are cracked and parched, the sky is lifeless without clouds and the people are awaiting rains - this is the time when the village women pray to Lord Indra for rain.

Jhijhian is a famous folk dance performance of Bihar State. This dance is of ritualistic in nature rather than be only an entertainmenting or ceremonial one. It is part of the ritual to appease the rain god Indra in the hopes of getting a good rain for a year, standing ahead to get quality harvest. The song accompanying this dance contains the prayer for the rain god.

The theme behind this dance is that they sing and dance to please the Lord of Rain with their deep devotion and on responding it Lord Indra listen their worship and takes pain to pour heavy rainfalls. This is the message of the most eminent folk dance of Bihar.

The musicians included a lead singer and harmonium player and a drummer who beat the dholak with such an enthusiasm that sometimes his shirt was soaking wet at the end of the dance. There were two female singers and other players on percussion instruments. Two Nagara drums commonly called Tassa in Trinidad, made up the rhythm for performance. The man on the bhansuri, which means bamboo flute, is played. This creates sweet notes and enhances the singing.

Paika Dance:
It is a dance of martial character. The Paika dance is performed with employing shield and sword. In the dance performance, skills & ability of the dancers in handling sword and shield is displayed. The dance reach at the climax with the fast beats produced by `Mandal`.

It is belived that, the word `paika` is derived from the Sanskrit word `Padatika` which means the infantry. Therefore, the name of the dance is Paika (battle) dance. In olden days, the powerful Ganga and Gajapati rulers of Orissa extended their territory borders from the river Ganges in the north to Godavari in the south with the help of a vast army of valiant Paikas. Actually, they were not in the regular pay-role of the army, but still received huge land grants from the kings.

They formed the rank of a peasant-militia. Though agriculture was their main earning source, they often keep themselves ready with regular practice and training in war techniques. With this power, several village-groups were under the command of a Dala Behera or group-commander.

Most of the Paika villages of State have maintained the older tradition of Paika Akhada. Paika Akhada is the village gymnasium where young people get assembled in the evening after completing the work of the day. Along with performing the traditional physical exercises at Paika Akhada, they also dance with sword and shield with the accompaniment of the country-drum.

The basic objective of the dance performance was the development of physical excitement and consequently increases the courageous activities in the dancing warriors. In ancient times, unconsciously this became a rehearsal of battle. During the festival of Dussera, all the Akhadas were celebrating their annual festivals. Even in many prosperous villages for displaying a traditional gymnastics, acrobatics by various village-groups competitive performances are arranged. Each group used to participate with great enthusiasm in such occasions.

For all such special occasion, grounds are purposely prepared with soft earth sprinkled with oil and water. The tradition of this dance is carried throughout the huge area of tribal belt of Mayurbhanj. Men as warriors appear for the performance, in their colorful turbans and tight dhoties. They stand in two rows. With holding the wooden swords and shields in their hands, warriors engage in a fierce mock-combat. They come forward slowly towards each other, but the tempo of the performance increases suddenly. This indicates the beginning of the battle and with it they whirl their swords and attack on each other.

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