Different Indian Dance forms and its origin
(Editor, Compiler, Author and Translator Dr. PADMA SUDHI)
Folk Dances of Arunachal Pradesh
The dance, performed by the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, have been broadly divided into four groups. The first group is the ritual dances which form part of ritual. This group may again be divided into five sub group. The first sub-group includes those dances which form part of the various rituals performed to secure prosperity, good health and happiness f the dancer, his family, village or the whole community. The second sub-group comprises of those dances performed on ceremonies related to agriculture and domestication of animals to secure a good harvest and increase of domestic animals respectively. The third sub-group is associated with the funeral ceremony when the soul is guided to it's abide in the land of the dead and to prevent in from haunting its old residence. The fourth subgroup consists of the fertility dances. These are magical in the sense that the imitation of the movements of coition is believed to promote fertility. War dances make the fifth sub group, which are on the decline with the stoppage of internecine feuds and raids.
The second group is the festive dance which forms the recreational part of a particular festival. The third group is the recreational dances which do not form part of any particular festival or ritual. These are performed on occasions which inspire its participant to express their mirth through these dances, the fourth group is pantomimes and dance dRāmas which narrate a mythical story or illustrate a moral. So, these are educative in purpose.
The Tangsa Dances
The long long ago, the Tangsa did not have any dance. A man was returning from his field.
When he heard a tremendous noise inside the jungke he was passing thorugh. He become inquisitive and stealthily approached the spot. There he saw a big assemblage of monkeys performing adance in an open place. He was enchanted by dance and marked it in all its details. On his returns to the village, he told the villagers of the marvel he had seen in the jungle. The villagers of the marvel he had seen in the jungle. The villagers also organized dance party, and performed a dance imitating the movements of the monkeys and that was they learned dancing.
Kukjong festival and dance
This festival is celebrated by the eight sub-tribes (Lungri, Mshang, Longphi, Kimchin, Tolim, Morang and Sangbal) in the month of December and January. They are clearing the jungle for cultivation after the festival, which lasts six days. On the first day, all the able bodied men of the village go out on a community hunt. They return on the third day and the bag is equally shared excepting the head man, who is allotted a larger share. The women prepare large quantities of beer. At night, a grand feast of meat and beer is followed by dance. The feat continues on the fourth
The Wancho Dances
The Wabchos do not have any myth about the origin of the dance. They perform the dances only during the appropriate occasions. They do have any dance which can be performed now and then simply for merriment. There is no formal training, but in each dance, children of even six or seven years old join. They learn the movements by imitating those of the elders. No musical instruments is played to the accompaniment of the dances.
Ozele Festival and Dances
This festival is celebratein February - March after the sowing of millet. It lasts for four days as was observed in Longkhau village. The dance is performed from about 9 pm. To 11 pm. Inside the chief's house. Among the male-folk; boys, youths and adults take part while among women, only girls and these young married women who have not yet got an issue and have not joined the husband's family, take part in the dance. The dancers, dressed in their fineries stand in a circle, surrounding a bonfire. The girls stand on one side of the circle holding each other hand. The male dancers hold a sword in the right hand and most of them place the left hand over the shoulder of the dancer to the left. The male dancers start singing when all take a short step with the right foot to the right, flex the knees with an accompanying forward swing of the sword and gently bring the left foot up to the heel of the right one. They repeat this sequence of movements. When the singing of the male - dancers, ends, which is generally on the eighth or ninth step, all stamp their right foot twice on the ground during their turn of singing, once generally in the fourth step and the next at the end of the singing which generally falls on the ninth step. Again the male dancers take up the singing and thus the dance continues.
The Idu Mishmi Dances
The Idu Mishmis have a ritual-dance and a fertility - dance. The ritual - dance is performed by the priest or priestess in the ceremonies of ai-ah, Ai-ih, Mesalahand Rren. The fertility dance is performed on the last day of the rren ceremony.
Digaru Mishmi Dances
The Digaru Mishmis have no myth about the origin of the dance. They have two types of dances called Buiya and Nuiya. The Buiya dance has two types of movements and it is performed for entertainment while the Nuiya is a ritual dance performed by a priest.
This dance is performed on any festival occasion like the Duiya. Tazampu and Tanuya festivals which are performed for the prosperity and good health of the performer and his house-hold. The Duiya is the biggest and costliest of these three festivals. It is performed for propitiating the god called Ring. The Tazampu which is smaller than the Duiya festival is performed in honour of the god Jobmalu, who is lower in rank than Ring in the Digaru pantheon. The Tanuya which is the smallest of these three festivals is performed for propitiating the god Jumdummeith. All these three festivals are performed by individual.
Author : Sarkar, Niranjan.
Source : Dances of India, V.K.P.
Vol 10 No. 2 Aug 1981, Madras
FOLK DANCE OF ANDHRA
Kolata is an ancient folk-dance of Andhra. In it men dance in a circle, with sticks in their hands. In Sanskrit this type of dance is known as Lakuta dance or Rāsaka. From the Sculpture in the temples in sourth, it may be inferred that even women participated in this dance. Twon Circles, outer and Inner..are formed with eight men in each. It begins with a prayer to Ganesa. The theme of the dance is religious.
Author : "Rao, Karnaraja Sesagiri;
Source : "Sammelan Patrika". Allahabad.
(SPA Vol. 1 Saka 1885)
FOLK DANCES OF BENGAL
Interest in the folk dances of Bengal was provided by the work of the Late Mr. G.S.DUTT, ICS, founder of Bratachari Movement. He revived this art in Bengal after introducing it in the stream of Bengal after introducing it in the stream of Bengal cultural movement which became well-known throughout the world.
Brata means solemn vow or an ideal and Chavi means one who strives to carry out an ideal. According to this movement, it is mistaken to pursue art for its own sake, or to pursue economic and Industrial interest to the exclusion of the cultural arts of joy, which represent a deeper self-expression of the spirit. This movement has been introduce ed into schools amount both boys and girls, and a based on the observance of five Bratas-knowledge, diligence, truth, unity and pleasure. In connection with the last of these was the art of dancing revived and two of the set functions of Bratachari are Kritya and Nrtya (action and dance.)
MYEMSINGH MASK DANCES OF BENGAL
Mymensingh is a place where these dances are accompanished with the help of masks. They are ritualistic in nature which are performed in the open air on the occasion of the annual religious festival of Chaitra Sankranti. There are four or five dances of great popularity but most frequently performed is that which represents god Mahādeva and goddess Kali. The customs of these dances are made by the local village artisans and village carpenters make the masks and the local potter paint them. Male roles are often played by boys.
In the dance of Mahādeva, artiste puts on a common red loin cloth. The upper portion of the body being kept naked, except for the liberal smearing of ashes. A double string of Rudrākṣa seeds is worn about the neck, and on the head is worn a wig of black hair with two long matted locks, hanging one on each side of the head to below the knees. This is the ascetic form of Lord śiva.
The dancer takes the mask in his hand and advances a few towards the audience, then he prostrates himself until his head rests on the ground as an act of devotional preparation to his assumption of the role of a divine being. When he covers his head with masks, two attendants tie the strings behind, and place in his right hand a Trishūla (Trident) and in his left a Conch-shell. The mask is made of mango-wood, an its surface is plastered with clay, which when dry, is thickly covered with paint white for the entire surface and black for the delineation of the features. The third eye of śiva is painted on the mask. Only the Dhak, a big drum is a accompaniment. The dance beings with slow movements and gradually assumes a greater speed, and fervor as the dancer becomes more and more carried away by the fantism of religious enthusiasm.
THE DANCE OF KALI
The decorative goddess wears a mask painted blue with white round the eyes. Red paint issued to denote streams of blood trickling down to the chin. A Khanra (Bengali carved sword) is place in the right hand of the dancer. Mahādeva as Sanyasi comes on to the arena and lies prostrate on the ground. Kali entering, makes a few round of the areana, then places on foot lightly on Mahādeva's chest and in that position performs a few simple and rapid dance gestures. Then leaving Mahādeva She performs her own vigorous whirling dance during which Mahādeva makes his exit. Her dance continues with a great brandishing of her avenging sword, and as the dance proceeds, the rhythm becomes more and more frenzied, and the movements of the dancer assume a wilder abandon until the performance acquires much of the madness of the Tandava dance (śiva dance of grief at the death of his consort).
BURA BURI DANCE OF MYMENSINGH MASKS
Known as Bura-Buri (Old man and old woman) a duet wherein two artists, wearing the mask to represent extreme old age, move in rhythmic unison to the accompaniment of the rhythms of the drum. This dance depicts the joyous harmony of a long conjugal existence and the indwelling spirit of work and joy even among the aged. The dance consists of a masterful blending of humour and profundity, as it relates the joy and vicissitude of a long life.
MAYMENSINGH MASK DANCES OF RADHA KRSNA
The depict the episodes from the ever appearing romances of the divine krsna and his consort Radha. The Hara-Parvati dances also depicting a divine romance of śiva and Sakti the Ganga dance, a choreographic description of the river Ganga in all its moods and seasons.
The famous Jatra is an operatic than a dance performance which is staged either in courtyards of Zamindar's houses or in the open greens of villages. The work Jatra means journey, but in the course of time, the dance dramas themselves have become known as Jatras.
Stories of the plays are always from Krsna-Lila in Bengal. Boys act as females in the stories, the Gopikas and Radha Jatra not only prevails throughout Bengal, but many other parts of India too.
Everywhere some form of Jatra exists, known under various names such as Rama-Lila in U.P. in Bengal also Ramayana Jatra was famous till 1600 A.D. But with the advent of Sri Caitanya, an ardent apostle of Krsna Lila became most acceptable source of subject of dance-drama. The originator of Jatra in Bengal is Caitanya deva who used to sing and dance in estasy inspired by the sacred lyrics dedicated to Lord Krsna. Thus, after Caitanya Mahaprabhu, there sprang up the clusters of lyricists who used to treat Krsna-Lila in dramatic verses.
Among them worth-mentioning are Locana dasa (1523-1589). Jagannatha Vallabhanand Jadunandana dasa (1607), while the dramas written by taking the tradition of Caitanya were: Vidagdha-Madhava by Rupa-Gosvami translated into English, Bengali as Radha-Krsna..Lita-Kadamba and Premadesa's Caitanya-Candrodaya-Kaumudi (1712). Some of the popular themes in these dramas were Katiya-Damana and Nimayi-Sanyasa or pacification of Radha. These dramas are accompanied by an orchestra made up of a Dhola (drum) and a chorus of singers, dressed in their peculiar long white robe known as Choga.
It is perhaps the most widely practice of all the folk dances in Bengal. It is the great antiquity and is associated with the worship of Visnu but it was revived by Chaitanya deve. The most striking feature of Kirtana is its democratic note for the people of the whole village, rich and poor, young and old. Zamindar and tenant join it without any distinction of caste and rank. The dance is performed with the accompaniment of Khol (A rural drum). It consists of the devotees moving around in a circle raising and lowering their hands in time with the beating of the drum. It is a dance of great spiritual fervor in which the religious emotion of the dancer are worked up to fanatical pitch, so that the dance usually ends in a sort of ecstasy of feeling.
Sometimes, the dance-party goes in a procession through the village. This is called Nagara-Kirtana.
DANCE OF FARIDPUR
It is known as Incense dance, connected with the Charaka-Ghambira festival which is celebrated at the end of Bengali year. Probably it has its origin inoccultrites.
Each dancer holds in one hand an earthen incense burner, containing glowing charcoal, into which he throws a handful of Incense powder each time the movement of the dance brings him past the extended hand of one who stands outside the ring of dancers, holding a plentiful supply of Incense powder (Samagri). As the Incense is hurted by the dancer one after another into the causers (Havana kunda), the fire and smoke leap up with sudden vigour, and on a dark night this dance is almost a spectacular performance, as the figures of the dancers spring suddenly into vivid life at each spasmodic burst of light. Only drums accompany it.
THE AVATARA DANCE
It depicts the ten Avataras of Visnu, which is comprised of great variety of mimetic gestures and symbolic actions by which the different incarnations are described. It is performed with the accompaniment of drums and interspersed with the incantations of mantras uttered by the principal dancer or Bala as he is called.
The Dhak Dhol and Madol, though played by men of the depressed classes, is held in high spiritual esteem as embodying the spirit of divine rhythm. During the Madol-Puja, the drum held by the drummer is venerated by offering of flowers from a Kula to the accompaniment of the Madol-Puja Dance.
It is performed by the unmarried girls in the month of Bhadra, in connection with autumn devotions to the god Indra. There are a few dances which exist solely as expression of the natural enjoyment of rhythmic movements of a such a kind is Baul song and dance performances which prevail through the entire length and breadth of Bengal among the Hindu Community. The dances are performed either as solo or in group to the accompaniment of many simple one or three stringed Instruments and drums. The most striking feature of the dance is the reckless atmosphere of joyous abandonment which pervades it and which is in complete accordance with the sentiments of the gay little songs, to which the dances are an accompaniment. Baul-Dancing and singing does not assign any time but can be performed at any time and exist purely for the self-gratification of the dancers themselves, although there are wandering bands of dancers who make a living out of giving their repertoire in the court yards of private houses on village greens. There are other Bengal Folk dances and music known as Kansi dance, Dhali dance of Jessore and Khulna Martial dance).
The Kathi dance (with sticks). Bankura dance of Bankura Distts'tribal peoples. Moharrum dances of Marcia and Jari Mourning) etc.
Author : Banerjee, Projesh
Source : The Folk-dance of India, Allahabad, 1944