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The dancing heritage of India

The entire landscape of India is replete with cultural gems. Travelling across the length and breadth of this vibrant county one comes across hues of such diversity as are unknown in any other part of the globe. Yet in India the traffic of life, the shifting shades of day, on this huge pliable canvas, are all but an expression of its beauty, its complacency and identity, as this many faceted being.  It is no surprise that the arts of such a people should reflect their natural openness, ease and festive spirit and that dance and music are an integral part of their lives. Its changing terrains host dance forms that are typical of these regions. Though there are some widely known and practiced classical dance forms of India, apart from the rapidly increasing prevalence of western forms, there are many lesser known dances that are mainly practiced in their specific regions and are not so greatly acknowledged or identified. Here is your key to some of these unique dance forms that are truly amazing for their expression, rarity and integrity.

Starting from the start, the north Rouf is a slow and graceful folk dance performed during spring time or at festive times in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The dancers face each other and align in two rows. They perform to beautiful, poetical songs called Chakri. The movements are simple as befits the quite, beautiful people of this tranquil heaven.

Though Bhangra is the one dance from of Punjab that is globally known, Sammi is a form that also comes from the tribal regions here and is performed by the women in graceful moves. It so called because it is beloved that it was Princess Sammi of Marwad first performed this dance. Though now it is more popular in other tribal regions of Punjab such as Sandalbar area which now comes in Pakistan.
The Charkula Dance is performed in Brij region of Uttar Pradesh every year after the third day of holi, acting in the belief that lord Krishna’s lover Radha was born on this blessed day. The Charkulas are large multi-tiered wooden pyramid that the dancers balance over their head. The dance is performed to the music of Krishna’s raslilas, rasiyas and is truly beautiful to watch complete with the dancers’ colorful attires.

The Kalbelia tribe of Rajasthan, known as snake charmers for ages, sustains the dance form of the same name in its community. The women imitate the snake in their movements and their dress bears their prints. It is again, extremely graceful.

The Sattriya dance of Assam and North East India was introduced by Srimanta Sankaradeva for the purpose of telling mythological stories within the dynamic framework of Indian classical dance forms and tribal and folk dances of these regions.

Cheraw dance of Mizoram is commonly known as bamboo dance. The bamboos are kept in cross and horizontal formations on the ground and the male dancers move the bamboos according to the music, and the females have to step in and out of the bamboos.

Interestingly, earlier the dance was performed to ensure the safe passage of the souls of mothers who died in childbirth, to heaven. But now its performed on any occasion.

Gaur Maria Dance folk dance form of Madhya Pradesh is performed to incite the hunting spirit of the tribe.  Saila Dance from Chhattisgarh is performed by boys with sticks during the harvest.

Chauu is a tribal martial arts dance which is popular in Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal. It is performed during spring festival of Chaitra Parva. The word chauu comes from the word chaaya which means shadow. It is inspired from various episodes of Ramayana and Mahabharata. The performers use masks which mark a distinction of from.

There are many other such form sin India and a detailed study of them can give deep insight of its culture and traditions as they are truly emblematic of the region they come from, and the mythological and cultural heritage of the country. They are art works that have sustained ages in the grace of dancers and have matured and bear the mark of their richness and exude such enigma as suits their power.


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