Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Folk Dances Of India - East

Bihu : Bihu is the most popular folk-dance of Assam and is enjoyed by all, be they young and old. Bihu is celebrated to mark the beginning of the spring festival, sometime in mid April.This festival is called the Rongali Bihu.Essentially a festival meant to celebrate the agricultural season, it is celebrated through Bihu dance accompanied by wild and lusty beats of the dhol (drum), pepa (buffalo hornpipe), gogona (a string reed attached to a bamboo piece at the end), takka (a portion of bamboo split to form a clapper) and Bihu songs woven round the theme of love. The most common formation in this dance is the circle or parallel rows. The Bihu dance demonstrates, through song and dance, the soul of the Assamese at its richest. The festival and the dance continue for about a month.
This dance is performed by young men and girls who gather in the open and dance together in separate groups of men and women. A tourist on a visit to Assam, during the harvest season, can witness the Bihu dance is almost every nook and corner of the Brahmaputra vally.

Naga Dance : Naga dance is a popular dance of tribals of Nagaland. Each tribe of the Nagas has its distinct style of performing this dance. The Nagas live in Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Assam.The Nagas, blessed with high cheekbones, almond eyes, sparkling teeth, carrying bronze shields sheathed in bear skin and decorated spears, perform their dance with vigour.

All the Naga tribes have their particular harvest dances, though the most common in the Naga dance. The characteristic feature of the Naga dance is that the dancer dances in an erect posture with movements of the legs. There is a marked restricted use of the torso and the shoulders.

Another dance, the Khamba Lim is pefomed by two groups of men and women and who stand in two rows. This gives us an insight into the inborn reticence of these people.War dances and other dances belonging to distinctive tribes constitute a major art form of Nagaland. In colourful costumes and jewellery, the dancers go through an amazing set of mock-war motion that could prove very dangerous, if one is a little careless. Festivals, marriages, harvests, or other moments of joy are occasions for the Nagas to burst into dance. And a sense of fun and frolic pervades the atmosphere when the Nagas dance.

Hazagiri : This is a dance by the Riangs of Tnpura, held to invoke the blessings of the Goddess Hazagiri, for a good harvest. Goddess Hazagiri is a form of Lakshmi (the Hindu Goddess of wealth). The ceremonies begin with the worship of nine gods and culminate in the worship of the Goddess Hazagiri. The dance begins with women dancing slowly (often with pots on their heads), joined later by men. The dance concludes on an ecstatic note in a fast tempo.

Bamboo Dance: The most colourful and distinctive dance of the people of Mizoram is called the Cheraw. Long bamboo staves are used for this dance, which is why it is called the Bamboo Dance. This is a dance that requires skill and an alert mind.

Nongkrem : The Nongkrem dance of Meghalaya is performed in autumn at Smit, the cultural center of the Khasi Hills. It is performed to commemorate the evolution of the Khasi tribe.

Thang-ta : The kings of Manipur used to encourage the martial arts, through which evolved a variety of combat exercises which later evolved into dances. One of the most thrilling of the dances is the Thang-ta, performed by young men with swords and shields. The drum is the chief musical accompaniment in this dance.

Karma (Munda) : The traditional dance of Bihar gets its name fromthe Karma tree, that is supposed to embody fortune and good luck. The ceremony starts with the planting of trees. Dancers, both men and women, form circles around the tree and dance with their arms around each other's waists.

Ponung : Among the Adis in Arunachal Pradesh, dance had evolved almost into an art form mainly for entertainment and recreation. The 'Ponung' dance of the Adis is performed by teams of young girls in perfect rhythmic unison. Similar group dances in colourful costumes are performed by the Nishis and the Tagins of Upper and Lower Subansin Districts.

Brita or Vrita : One of the most important folk dances of Bengal, it is an invocational dance performed by the barren -women of Bengal who –worship in gratitude for their wish being fulfilled. Quite often, this dance is performed after a recovery from a contagious disease.

Hurka Baul : The Hurka Baul from West Bengal is performed during the cultivation of paddy and maize. After preliminary rituals, the dance is performed in different fields. The dance derives its name from Hurka, the drum which constitutes the only musical accompaniment, and Baul, the sons. The singer narrates a story of battle and heroic deeds and the performers enter from two opposite sides and enact the stories in a series of crisp movements.

Kali Nach : This dance is performed in honour of the Goddess Kali. Here, the performer wears a mask, purified by mantras, dances with a sword and when worked up can give prophetic answers.

Ghanta Patua : For the month of Chaitra, the village streets in Orissa reverberate with the sound of Ghanta (brass song). The Ghanta is played by Ghanta Patuas in accompaniment to their dance on stilts. Ghanta Patuas are non-Brahmin servants of the deities. The dance is closely associated with the worship of the Mother Goddess who has numerous names including Sarala, Hingula,Charchika, Bhagavati, Mangala and Chandi.One of the Ghanta Patuas dresses himself as a female with a black cloth tied on the head. He places the Ghata decorated with flowers and coloured threads on his head and then performs with the Ghata on his head. He also displays a variety of Yogic postures. The Dhol and Ghanta are the accompanying instruments.

Paik : This martial art dance from Orissa is masculine, vigorous, highly structured and full of dignity. The dancers stand facing each other on rows wearing tight dhotis, colourful turbans and holding large shields and swords. In the first phase of the performance, the dancers approach each other slowly, their stance and movements recalling fencing positions. Gradually, the tempo increases and the mock battle begins with mighty jumps and swords being struck.

Dalkhai : The Dalkhai dance is performed in some of the tribes in the Sambalpur district of Orissa. The dance is vigorous and is accompanied by a set of particular musical instruments, played by men, of which the drummers often join the dance. Another version of this dance is the Chain Ghorha, performed by a community of fisher-folk.

classical dances


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Dances Of India

classical dances : Bharata Natyam | Kathakali | Kathak | Manipuri | Kuchipudi | Odissi | Mohini Attam
Folk Dances North : Bhangra | Dhumal | Rouf | Lama Dance | Pangi Dances | Losar Shona Chuksam | Raas | Gidda | Dhamyal | Duph | Lahoor | Dhurang | Mali Dance | Tera Tali |
Folk Dances East : Bihu | Naga Dance | Hazagiri | Bamboo Dance | Nongkrem | Thang-Ta | Karma | Ponung | Brita or Vrita | Hurka Baul | Kali Nach | Ganta Patua | Paik | Dalkhai |
Folk Dances West : Gendi | Bhagoriya | Jawar | Garba | Dandiya | Kala | Dindi | Mando |
Folk Dances South : Dollu Kunitha |Dandaria | Karagam | Kummi | Kuttiyattam | Padavani | Kolam | Lava | Nicobarese |

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