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Folk Dances of India

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Folk Dance of Assam. Meghalaya, Mizoram

Bihu Dance

Bihu Dance:
Bihu is the most popular & colorful folk dance of Assam. The dance is performed in the Bihu festival, celebrated for the arrival of spring in the Assamese New Year. The people of Assam enjoy this festival a lot. This is extremely energetic, fast & eye-catching dance performance with the rhythmic exuberance of Bihu. Bihu dances are performed by young boys and girls characterized by brisk stepping, flinging and movements of hands, stylish footwork and swaying of hips represents youthful passion & reproductive urge.

Bihu dance is performed in the seedtime and also during the season of marriage. In fact, the festival had its roots in some earlier fertility cult. This preoccupation with fertility, both vegetal and human is reflected in the songs and dance with their overly erotic movements and expressions depicting the joys of spring and youth. In essence, the Bihu dance is a perfect expression of feelings of youth and energy. Amidst nature`s pristine beauty, youths perform this dance accompanied by songs of erotic sentiment, virtile beating of drums called Dhol, soft strains of Pepa made buffalo horns and manjire, tokka (bamboo clappers) and many more indigenous musical instruments. The dance has been noted for maintaining authenticity and at the same time displaying the traditional Assamese handlooms and handicrafts in their glory and beauty by the dancers.

Bhibu dance The Bihu is considered as feature of folk dance of Assam and is enjoyed by all sections of society. The dance is a part of the Bihu festival that starts in mid-April, when harvesting work of farming is over. The dance is performed in an open space during daytime but there is a clear distinction of separate sexes. Many musical instruments like drums and pipes make the dance more vigorous. In between, the performers sometimes sing with dancing. In a course of dancing, the dancers commonly form a circle or parallel rows. Through singing and dancing, the sprit & enthusiasm of Assamese is busting out in its richest.

Nongkrem Dance

`Nongkrem` is the name of an important folkdance from the Meghalaya. The Khasis tribe of Meghalaya is related with its performance. They also celebrate the ripening of paddy for threshing by the way of dancing and singing.This dance is performed in the Nogkrem dance festival.

Though, the Nongkrem dance had a purpose of celebration, it is also performed for community peace. The Khasi is the hill region, where India`s last remaining royalty is seen.

The Nongkrem dance festival of the Khasi tribe in India`s northeastern Meghalaya State is a multipurpose event. With the reason of this event, all tribes of this hilly region area people meet together from their scattered hamlets. They strongly believe in-group prayer or community gathering. Through this dance performance, they give thanks to the gods for a bountiful harvest. They also prey to nature to keep up the timely delivery of rain and ward off evil disasters. The dancing steps are very simple. Similarly, there is no any kind of agelimit to take part in the performance.

Khuallam Dance

Khuallam Dance:
Khuallam is a dance that is performed at the time of ceremony called `Khuangchawi`. It is also known as `dance of the guests`. During the `Khuangchawi` ceremony, the invited guests enter the area performing Khuallam.

Special type of Mizo cloths that are hand woven are wore for the dance. They are generally called as Puandum. It is wrapped over the shoulders and the dance is performed. In performing various dancing steps the swaying of cloths is seen. The costumes are colourful, having stripes of black, red, yellow and green colours. These typical costumes are very much significant in their culture, as every girl has to take it along with her after getting married. If the husband of her dies, this cloth is used for covering his body.

The dance is performed with an accompaniment of the sounds of gongs known as darbu`. Similarly, there is no lyrics for the song that is sung. It is usually performed in large numbers. This dance can be termed as community dance

Cheraw Dance

Cheraw Dance:
Most of the dances of Mizoram are performed during the time of festival. Generally, these folk dances are group dances. Cheraw dance is most popularly known as `Bamboo dance`. Bamboos are used in the performance of the dance, from which the dance is named so. Both men and women come together & perform the bamboo dance of Mizoram. While the men hold the bamboos, the women folk dance between the bamboos.

In the performance, the dancer moves by stepping alternatively in and out from between and across a pair of horizontal bamboos. People mostly sitting in facing to either side hold these bamboos against the ground. People in a sitting position, tap the bamboos, open and close it as per the rhythmic beats. Two bases support the bamboos that are placed horizontally, one at each end. The movements created by bamboos at the time of clapping produce a sharp sound. This particular sound forms the rhythm of the dance. It also indicates the timing for the dancing steps as well. The dancers perform various attractive steps in and out on the beats of the bamboos. Generally, the patterns and stepping of the dance have many variations that are very much graceful. Sometimes the stepping are made in imitation of the movements of birds, sometimes to show the swaying of trees, and it goes on.

An individual family performs Cheraw dance on the occasion of `Buhza Aih` that is the bumper harvest. Basically, it is not a community dance but a dance performed by a few selected girls having extraordinary skills. It is also performed in marriage ceremonies and on the time of merry-makings to celebrate success. At the time of such occasions, large number of people gathers to watch the proud performance of `Cheraw` dance by the few skillful dancers. It is generally performed on moonlit nights that adds a glory to it. At the time of performance, the sound of the bamboo hitting each other is the rhythm for the dance. But even if a rhythm is missed, the experienced dancers perform various steps with grace and care.

The cheerful mood of the Mizos & enthusiasm of them are truly expressed through their dances. The drum and the gong are two traditional musical instruments of the Mizos. Bamboo Dance is considered as the most colourful and distinct dance of the Mizos.

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