My Favorite Indian Dance Forms

Alan Watts once said ‘life’s a dance of energy’. In the same way dance is also a way to express the energy of emotions and feelings. So here are my favourite dance forms.

Bihu Dance

By Rohan Gautam 002 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86530098

Bihu is a popular folk dance associated with the state of Assam in India and it is performed generally during the Bihu festival. It is generally performed during the springtime. The energetic dance steps and quick hand movements define the Bihu dance of Assam. A lot of vibrancy can be seen in the dance outfit of Bihu, the male performers of Bihu are dressed in dhotis and gamocha. The women who perform Bihu usually wear traditional Assamese attire for the performance. Women team up their outfits with gaudy and heavy jewelry and they also decorate their braids with pretty flowers that perfectly match the color of the dress worn by them.There are many instruments that are utilized during a Bihu performance namely a Dhol, Pepa, Taal, Toka, Xutuli, Gogona and Baanhi. Watching the Bihu dance is mesmerising, the music enchants the atmosphere while the women and men of Assam joyfully dance.

Samai Dance

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The word samayi means brass. It is called Samai dance because men and women dance with brass lamps or deepak put on their heads. Samai dance is performed by people of Goa during Holi and Shigmo festival. During the Samai dance, the women wear bright and colourful sarees and men wear kurta with pajamas. The men have a head ribbon tied to their heads while taking part in the lamp dance. Women wear gajra in their hair along with other traditional jewelry such as bangles, bindi, earrings, nose pins, and necklaces.The brass lamp used in the Samayi dance is one foot long with burning wicks which dancers need to balance while dancing. Samayi dance consists of very slow dance movements as dancers need to balance lamps on their heads. Dancers dance to traditional folk songs while making exquisite movements.The main instruments used in samai dance are Harmonium, Shehnai, Ghumat, Samel, Surt, and Zanj.

Chhau Dance

The Chhau Dance is a popular form of tribal dance in India that also integrates elements of martial arts into its movements. It is generally performed in in the states of Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand.The dance form has three subtypes; namely Purulia Chhau, Mayurbanj Chhau and Seraikella Chhau, named differently because of the place of their origin.The dance developed a means to portray stories to the audience. The fables revolve around Ramayana and Mahabharata, Puranas and other India Literature with religious themes. Indian instruments – Dhol, Shehnai and Dhamsa make the recital come to life. The male dancers wear brightly colored dhotis with a matching kurta on top. A vast amount of costume jewelry is worn in the form of necklaces. Female dancers, or male dancers depicting female characters, are known to wear colorful sarees.The style and variety of the costume of the dancers largely depends on the characters being portrayed by them. The dancers also use different objects to display weapons.