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ETHNIC ARTS COUNCIL OF INDIA

India one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse nations in the world has had a long romance with performing art forms. This is evident from the facts that the Hindu Sanskrit texts Nātyaśāstra (Science of Dance) and Abhinaya Darpana (Mirror of Gesture) are estimated to be from 200 BCE to early centuries of the 1st millennium CE. Also, some of the oldest surviving Art forms -
eg: Thirayattam (Dance) and Kudiyattam (Drama) - has their origin dating back to 2 millennia or more.

For this reason, India has one of the world’s largest collections of ethnic & folk traditions, performing arts, rites and rituals, dance, theatre, songs, music, paintings and writings that are known, as the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ (ICH) of humanity. However many of them are long forgotten or near extinct. At Ethnic Arts Council of India, it is our aim to bring back these long forgotten near extinct Ethnic, Folk and other intangible Art forms back to limelight, help them sustain and grow.

Are you associated or interested in Ethnic, Folk and Intangible art forms as

  • An artist (Performer)
  • A person/group promoting an ethnic art form
  • A Scholar/Academician who has knowledge/working on any such art-form
  • A Researcher/Academician who wants to pursue/is already pursuing knowledge on any such art-form
  • An avid follower

If Yes ,

We 1 welcome you to join the cause of promoting the lesser known and near extinct ethnic,
folk and other intangible art forms and artists.

JOIN US

About Us

Ethnic Arts Council is An Autonomous Non Profit Organization, Registered & Approved by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, committed to the upliftment of all Ethnic, Folk and other intangible performing arts of India and the community of artists/performers associated with the ethnic and folk art-forms.

Vision

Be a platform to promote all Ethnic, Folk and other intangible performing art forms of India and give legal and moral support to the Ethnicity, Ethnic Communities, Artists, Organizations, Clubs etc. Print & Digital documentation of all historic as well as present day facts and figures in order to make the world aware of the rich cultural heritage which are both tangible and intangible.

Mission

Introduce to the World at large all the different Ethnic, Folk and other intangible performing arts and artifacts in its authenticity by organizing as well as participating in various art festivals, workshops, seminars, cultural exchange programs etc., and also by organizing sustainable Ethnic Tourism associating with Tourism Department of India.

WHY ETHNIC ARTS COUNCIL ?

  • Ethnic Arts Council is an organization that is first of its kind in India which uses modern technology and professionalism to encompass all ethnic, folk or other intangible performing arts in its activity of bringing lesser known or near extinct to the limelight.
  • It also aims at print and digital recording of the unwritten and hence erroneously passed down or forgotten history of various ethnic communities for the first time.
  • Council is committed to the upliftment of the artistic community who has given their lives to various Ethnic & Folk performing art forms.
  • Committed to give maximum exposure to various Ethnic & Folk art forms both nationally and internationally through sustainable tourism.
  • Promote various Ethnic & Folk performing art forms in Cultural Exchange programs across the world.
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Khampti dance Arunachal Pradesh

Khampti Dance is one of the well known folk dances performed in the Arunachal Pradesh state of India. The dance is generally practiced by the Khampti community of the state. Khampti dance is generally performed during the religious festivals of Potwah, Sankian or Khamsang. The dance is termed as simply 'ka' and the dance-drama is called 'kapung' in which 'ka' means dance and 'pung' is the story. It actually means a story that is depicted through the dance performance.

Khamptis are Buddhists; hence many of their dance-dramas unfold some stories or depict mythical events bearing ethical lessons. Musical instruments like gogs and cymbals accompany this dance. Generally, men wearing women's costume play female roles, as no women participates in the drama.

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Bootha KolaKarnataka

Bhoota Kola is a form of 'Bhoota Aradane' or worship of holy spirits , widely followed in South Canara & parts of Kerala. Bhoota or Daiva is a holy spirit and Bhoota Kola is all about paatri ( impersonator ) also called as 'Nalke' in Tulu, getting possessed by holy spirit. An annual event, it is a worship which starts after the dusk and can go on till the early morning. In short to sum it up, Bhoota Kola is system of rituals, social gathering, miraculous healing of ailments and solutions to problems.

The folk artistes who invoke the spirits during Bhoota Kolas generally belong to tribal communities like Nalike, Parava and Pambada. The spirit impersonator is assisted by a female member of his family who sings paad-dana or a ballad that narrates the story of the origin of the Bhoota, main events from its life, its heroic deeds, death, etc. While a paad-dana is usually a short ballad, its longer version is called sandhi which sometimes contains thousands of lines, all preserved orally!

Bhoota Kola has an artistic look to it with the paatri wearing gorgeous costumes, dancing to the tunes of drums and wind instruments played with different tempo. As it gets closer to possession of the spirit tempo depth increases. A typical costume is a gown made of palm leaves and a big nimbus like structure called "ani" made of palm leaf and decorated by few ornaments. Costume might have slight variation based on spirit. After the holy spirit is in possession it can get very dramatic such as paatri eating a live chicken or walking over the fire. Bhoota Kola is not a public event.

The Bhoota Kola season starts during the auspicious day of Deepavali and ends with Pattanaje or the 10th day of the Hindu month of Vrishabha which falls around the 25th of May. Apart from the Kola (sometimes also called Nema) which is spirit worship on a grand scale, Agelu, Thambila, Bali, Kendadaseve are some of the other forms of appeasing the spirit deities.

Along with contributing to the strong familial and community bonds among the people of Tulu Nadu, the spirit worship also serves to bridge the religious divide as spirits with Muslim origins like Ali Bhoota and Bobbarya are also venerated by the faithful here. As an art form, tradition, entertainment and psycho-cultural phenomenon, spirit worship stands as a grand example of man’s longing for an intimate connection with nature.

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BhangraPunjab, Hariyana

The dance known as Bhangra is one of Punjab's most popular dances and the name of the music style. Bhangra is done with classic style Punjabi dresses, and with instruments including a Dhool, Chimta, Algoza etc. It was originally danced during the harvest season, but now is a popular form of celebration at any time such as weddings and festivals. Bhangra is a very popular style of music and dance in Punjab, but is also very popular in the diaspora, specifically in Canada and the U.K. where many Bhangra competitions are now held. Creating Bhangra teams has become very popular and influential with teenagers.It is a mixture of many steps like dhamaal, jutti, Fulka, Sialkoti, Dankare, Jugni, Mirzi, Fumnian. Other folk dance of Punjab like Jhummar, Sammi, are included in Bhangra.

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Ghumura Dance Orissa

Ghumura is one of the most sought and leading folk dance form in Orissa. It is classified as folk dance as the dress code of Ghumura resembles more like a tribal dance, but recent researchers argue different mudra and dance form present in Ghumura bear more resemblance with other classical dance form of India. The timeline of Ghumura dance is not clear. Many researchers claim it was a War dance in ancient India and used by Ravana in Ramayana. Ghumura dance is depicted in Sun Temple of Konark confirming this dance form is since the medieval period.

The typical mixed sound that comes out of the musical instruments like Ghumura, Nishan, Dhol, Taal, Madal etc. and the expressions and movements of the artists make this dance to be a "Heroic Dance". Over thousands of years Ghumura dance has evolved from a war dance to a dance form for cultural and social activities. The dance is associated with social entertainment, relaxation, love, devotion and friendly brotherhood among all class, creed and religion in the present days. Traditionally this dance is also associated with Nuakhai and Dasahara celebration in Kalahandi and large parts of South Western Orissa. Ghumura dance is still hidden in the village level in South Western Orissa and some parts of bordering Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

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Dhap Dance Orissa

This Sambalpuri folk dance is mostly performed by the Kandha tribe of Kosal region in Orissa. Dhap dance is an old adivasi traditional dance of the tribes of Orissa and has been in existence since thousands of years, along with some of the other traditional folk dances of the region. This dance form acquires its name from the musical instrument ‘Dhap’ that is used along with the performance. It is a Khanjari shaped drum made out of wood from Babool tree. Dhap dance is performed during the main festival of the Oriyas, ‘Nuakhai’. The head of the village known as ‘Mukhia’, dances with an axe on his shoulder to signify that the men shall protect the integrity of the women of their village.

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Theru Koothu Tamilnadu

Theru koothu is possibly the most popular entertainment forms in rural Tamil Nadu. It literally means "street party". These are shows that resemble musical plays and are normally conducted during village festivals, during the Tamil months of Panguni and Aadi. The show is put up at the junction of three or four streets in open air theaters/makeshift stages, and the place is lit by gas lights. A wooden bench is set up to seat the singers and the music troupe. Make-up and costumes are considered of prime importance. Traditionally, only men take part; the female roles are also played by them. The performance consists of story-telling, dialogue-rendering, singing and dancing, all performed by the artists having good performing skills. The stories are taken from Puranas (ancient texts), epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata, and also local folklore. The play starts late in the evening and goes on until late in the night.

Theru Koothu is more popular in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu. The Koothu can be categorised as Nattu Koothu, including Vali Koothu, Kuravai Koothu etc. Samaya Koothu dealing with religious topics, Pei Koothu including Thunangai Koothu and Porkala Koothu dealing with martial events.

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Karagaattam Tamilnadu

Karagam is a folk dance with musical accompaniment, performed balancing a pot on the head. Traditionally, the villagers in praise of the rain goddess Mari Amman and River Goddess, Gangai Amman, performed this dance with literature with water pots balanced on their heads. In Sangam literature, it is mentioned as 'Kudakoothu'. This dance has two divisions - one, Aatta Karagam and the other 'Sakthi Karagam'. More often it is danced with decorated pots on the head and is known as 'Aatta Karagam' and symbolizes joy and merriment. Shakthi Karagam is performed only in temples, while the latter is mainly for entertainment. This is one of the more popular rural dances of today. Earlier it was performed only with the Neiyandi Melam but now it also includes songs.

Karagams were once performed for mulaipari ceremony when the dancer carried a pot of sprouted grains on his/her head and danced, balancing it through intricate steps and body/arm movements. Today, the pots have transformed from mud pots to bronzeware and even stainless steel in modern times. The pots are decorated with a cone of flower arrangements, topped by a paper parrot. The parrot rotates as the dancer swings along. This dance is very popular all over Tamil Nadu, though its birthplace is said to be Thanjavur. Most artistes hail from Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Pattukottai and Salem. This dance most is often a solo or a duet. Both male and female performers participate in this. Acrobatics similar to circus are included such as dancing on a rolling block of wood, up and down a ladder, threading a needle while bending backwards and so on.

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Dhmsa DanceAndrapredesh

Dhimsa dance is a dance of young and old, men and women of Valmiki, Bagata, Khond and Kotia tribes living in the enchanting Araku Valley in the hilly tracts of Vishakhapatam district. A monthly magazine is published by the name of Dhimsa in [Telugu language] Tribals dance during the months of Chaitra i.e. March and April, on weddings and other festivities. During the festivals dancers of one village visit the other to participate in the dance and join the community feast. Such dances are known as “Sankidi Kelbar”. The unique feature of Dhimsa dance is that it channelizes friendship and fraternity between the people of different villages. This being traditionally a tribal dance, the women folk attired in typical tribal dress and ornaments dance in group to the tune of Mori, Kiridi, Tudumu, Dappu and Jodukommulu.

Dhimsa had branched off to eight different categories of dances. Boda Dimsa is a worship dance in honour of village goddess. In Gunderi dimsa or Usku Dimsa a male dancer while singing sends invitation to the females to dance with him. Potar-Tola Dimsa dance symbolizes the picking up leaves. Bhag Dimsa is a dance of art as to how to escape from a tigers attack. Natikari Dimsa is a solo dance danced by the Valmikis on Dewali festival in particular. Baya Dimsa dance is the dance of tribal magician when he is possessed by the village goddess. Goddi Beta Dimsa, Kunda Dimsa are the other two forms. Dimsa dances exhibit community unity without discrimination. These dance forms essentially amplifying their ways of life belong to their cultural heritage. Though their dances cannot be included into any classical forms, yet they conform to the rhythm of either “Aditala” or “Rupakatala

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NautankiUP

Nautanki is one of the most popular folk operatic theater performance forms of South Asia, particularly in northern India. Before the advent of Bollywood (the Hindi film industry), Nautanki was the biggest entertainment medium in the villages and towns of northern India. Nautanki's rich musical compositions and humorous, entertaining storylines hold a strong influence over rural people's imagination. Even after the spread of mass media (such as television and DVDs), a crowd of 10,000 to 15,000 can be seen at the top Nautanki performances. Nautanki's origins lie in the Saangit, Bhagat, and Swang musical theatre traditions of Northern India. One Saangit called Saangit Rani Nautanki Ka became so popular that the whole genre's name became Nautanki.

Nautanki performances are operas based on a popular folk theme derived from romantic tales, mythologies, or biographies of local heroes. The performance is often punctuated with individual songs, dances, and skits, which serve as breaks and comic relief for audiences. Audiences sometimes use the breaks to go to the toilet or pick up food from their homes or nearby shops. Nautanki performances involve a lot of community participation from audiences. For instance, community members provide logistical support, financial support, and talented actors for Nautanki performances. Audience members choose what script will be performed and often intervene during the performance to demand a repeat of a particular song or skit.

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ThirayattamUP

Thirayattam is a performing art form which originated many centuries ago among the Aborigines (Tribal people / Adivasis) who lived in the interiors of Kerala's dense forests. As they used to worship, Trees, Serpents (Nagas), Local Heroes and above all the Nature at Large, the tribes, had and still have, deities with different attitude/mental makeup/characteristics in various sacred groves and village shrines. Though there are 23 different mainstream characters in Thirayattam, the characters (vesham) dancing will vary according to the deity of the shrine and not all will be present in any single performance. Mother Nature being the most worshiped Goddess, Bhagavathi Thira, based on the story of Goddess Kali killing the demon by name Darika is the most commonly performed one in Thirayattam.

A combination of Dance, Music , Theatre, Satire, Facial & body Painting, Masking, Martial art & Ritualistic Function, Thirayattam is more popular as a Ritual Performing Ethnic Art Form in the South Malabar region of Kerala, India. Fast and furious steps by men (only men perform this art form) to the beats of Chenda, Ila thalam, Kombu, Thudi, Panchayudham, Kuzhal (musical instruments of Kerala) etc., this dance form can be broadly classified into two as Thirayattam which is performed in the night and Vellattam performed during the day. Though Perumannan/Mannan Tribe was the one that started performing Thirayattam and for many centuries only they used to perform, other tribes like Panar and Cherumar also started performing in the later years.

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ThirayattamUP

Tippani Dance is form of folk dance originated from the Chorwad region of Saurashtra in Gujarat, India. Tippani Dance, also known as Tippani Nritya, is a typical folk dance form performed by the women folk of Chorwad region in Saurashtra. The dance was named after Tippani, an equipment with a square wood or iron piece ‘Garbo’ (block) at one end of a long stick which was used for beating and pressing lime into the foundation of a floor or house under construction in older times.

Tippani Dance is a dance form of the laborers who spend their livelihood by breaking stones or leveling the ground to break the monotony of the work. Each woman holding a Tippani would dance in two rows opposite to each

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Tippani dance Gujrarath

Tippani Dance is form of folk dance originated from the Chorwad region of Saurashtra in Gujarat, India. Tippani Dance, also known as Tippani Nritya, is a typical folk dance form performed by the women folk of Chorwad region in Saurashtra. The dance was named after Tippani, an equipment with a square wood or iron piece ‘Garbo’ (block) at one end of a long stick which was used for beating and pressing lime into the foundation of a floor or house under construction in older times.

Tippani Dance is a dance form of the laborers who spend their livelihood by breaking stones or leveling the ground to break the monotony of the work. Each woman holding a Tippani would dance in two rows opposite to eachother with the accompaniment of a folk song. A unique characteristic of the dance is the vigorous swiftness and rhythmic cadence of footsteps and Tippani stepping. Zanz, Manjira, Dhol and Shehnai are the major musical instruments used to control the tempo and pace of the movements

There are numerous folk dances in India that characteristically symbolize the culture related activities all along with their gritty characteristic. The Tippani folk dance is also a dance form of such mold. In this dance, women laborers those are engage in creation work clout on the ground with lengthy sticks named as ‘Tippani’. This dance form was named after Tippani, utensils with a square wood or iron piece ‘Garbo’ (block) at one finish of a extended stick which was utilize for striking and critical lime into the charity of a floor or house under edifice in older period. They use a cadenced musical procedure to flee from the workload that is occupied in their chore. This dance is one of the patterns of the virile dance types of the folk dance in Gujarat. Tippani Dance is a dance form of the manual worker who splurges their living by flouting stones or echelon the ground to crack the tedium of the work. Each woman asset a Tippani would boogie in two rows conflicting to each other with the accessory of a folk song. Normally, associates of the “Halli” community execute this vigorous dance form.

The dance starts gradually, through the Beating and singing of the earth done in the identical rhythm. As the rapidity speed up, the dancers alternately strike the ground and hit the knob of the mallets collectively, and then commence body activities, usually circuitous and increasing themselves. Towards the ending of the dance, all the women set in rows and smack the floor very swiftly. An exclusive feature of dance is the dynamic quickness and cadenced pulse of footsteps and Tippani striding. It is normally execute on festivals such as Holi or Diwali and on the diverse observance like wedding.

Tippani Dance derived from the chorwad district Gujarat. Women from seashore option of Chorwad utilize to strike the floor with comprehensive sticks, and chant in a scrupulous alacrity, while others dance in whirling of skirts. With simple device like a `Turi` and a `Thali` i.e. brass plate the dancers produce the music. Normally, members of the Halli society perform this vigorous dance form. The long deficiency of their men from them while being at sea attached with the boredom of the chore of creation the ground and ceilings of the house, making the women croon and dance with their Tippani to the pace of the trampling to scrap the monotony of their life.

Costumes and Music

The costumes and the apparatus utilize for this folk dance are also representative and customary. Folk costumes for the dance frequently consist of a short coat well known as “Kedia” with tight sleeves having overstated shoulders and borders, tight trousers such as the Churidars and vibrantly overstated caps or decorated turbans and a decorated waist band. Dhol, Marinara and Shehnai are the main musical gadget used to manage the cadence and pace of the arrangements. They enlighten their toil throughout this rhythmic melodic procedure. Every woman would contain a Tippani moreover would dance in two rows reverse to each other along with would sing. It truthfully adjoins to the rich ethnicity of this element of India!

Popularity Outside India

Tippani Folk dance has achieved esteem in the contemporary period. This Tippani dance has been well-known in all the Guajarati’s living all around the world as this dance formed have been performed on numerous festivals and wedding‘s. This period shows are gaining recognition all over globe; newly Asian American Society Virginia is presented this admired dance of Gujarat.

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Bihu DanceAssam

The Bihu is a group dance in which males and females dance together, but maintain separate gender roles. In general, females follow stricter line or circle formations. The male dancers and musicians enter the dancing area first, maintain their lines and follow synchronized patterns. When the female dancers enter, the male dancers break up their lines to mingle with the female dancers (who maintain their stricter formation and the order of the dance). It is usually characterized by specific postures: movements of the hips, arms and wrists; twirls, squats and bends. Male and female dance movements are very similar, with only subtle differences .

Performance

The dance is performed to traditional Bihu music. The most important musicians are the drummers (dhulia), who play a twin-faced drum (the dhol, which is hung from the neck) with one stick and a palm. There are usually more than one dhulia in a performance; each plays different rhythms at different sections of the performance. These rhythmic compositions, called seus, are traditionally formal. Before entering the dancing area, the drummers play a short and brisk rhythm. The seu is changed, and the drummers usually enter the dance area in line. The mohor xingor pepa is played (usually at the beginning) by a single player, who lays out an initial plaintive motif which sets the mood for the dance. The male dancers then enter the area in formation and perform (accompanied by singing, in which all participate). Other instruments which accompany this dance are the taal, a type of cymbal; the gogona, a reed-and-bamboo instrument; the toka, a bamboo clapper and the xutuli, a clay whistle. Bamboo flutes are also often used. The songs (bihu geet) accompanying the dance have been handed down for generations. Subjects of the lyrics include welcoming the Assamese new year, describing the life of a farmer, history and satire. Although males and females perform Bihu dance, the female Bihu dance has more variations (including freehand, twisting, with a rhythmic pepa, with a kahi (disk) and with jaapi—Assamese headgear). The performance may be long, but is enlivened by rapid changes in rhythm, mood, movements, pace and improvisation. Dancers and musicians are given opportunities to showcase their talents.

The dance takes several forms in the different northeastern Indian groups (e.g. the Deori Bihu dance, Mising Bihu dance or Rati Bihu celebrated by Morans).[ However, the underlying goal of the dance remains the same: to express the desire to feel both pain and happiness.

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Gaarudi GombeKarnataka

Gaarudi Gombe is a folk dance in which dancers dress in suits made of bamboo sticks. Gaarudi-Gombe means "magical puppet" in Kannada. The dance is performed during major festivals and in the procession he[ld during the Mysore Dasara, and is known as Tattiraya in the coastal regions. Tattiraya means "someone carrying a doll made of bamboo sticks"

The dance features masks, puppets and colourful regional costumes. The puppets are made from bamboo and papier mâché, painted with suitable makeup. During the fair and festival procession to the temple, the giant dolls are the central attraction to spectators. The dolls are hollow and permit a person to get inside, carry the structure on his shoulders and dance, while being able to see. The dolls are used for fun and to ward off evil spirits, depicting characters from Indian mythology and folklore. The dance is performed to the tamate and dholu (a percussion instrument). Each doll weighs 10 to 12 kilograms (22 to 26 pounds), and stand 10 to 12 feet (3.0 to 3.7 metres) tall. During the procession, some performers wear character masks and interact with the dolls. Itinerant performers dressed as a tiger (hulivesha) or bear (karadi-vesha) with dancing monkeys are common in South India.

According to a legend, this dance was performed even in the times of the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. When the Hindu Lord Krishna's wife Satyabhama was angry with him, he soothed her anger by wearing a Gaarudi Gombe doll.

Creation of the Dolls

The face of the doll is made up of wooden basket with papier-mache applied on it. Using appropriate sketches and colours, the face of the doll is created. Each face is supported by a wooden frame. The dolls can be as much as 10 to 12 feet in height and including the frame, the total weight can be as high as 40 kg. A person fits himself into the frame from the underside and performs the dance carrying this huge structure on his shoulder Provisions are made for the performer to see the outside world through an opening in the frame

The Dance

Due to the heavy weight of the dolls to be carried, most of the performers are men. The dance performance can go on for as much as eight hours, thus the performers take turns carrying the heavy dolls. Though the main idea behind the performance is to create a funny atmosphere, they are also used as a medium to ward of evil spirits.

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Panthi DanceAssam

The Bihu is a group dance in which males and females dance together, but maintain separate gender roles. In general, females follow stricter line or circle formations. The male dancers and musicians enter the dancing area first, maintain their lines and follow synchronized patterns. When the female dancers enter, the male dancers break up their lines to mingle with the female dancers (who maintain their stricter formation and the order of the dance). It is usually characterized by specific postures: movements of the hips, arms and wrists; twirls, squats and bends. Male and female dance movements are very similar, with only subtle differences .

Performance

The dance is performed to traditional Bihu music. The most important musicians are the drummers (dhulia), who play a twin-faced drum (the dhol, which is hung from the neck) with one stick and a palm. There are usually more than one dhulia in a performance; each plays different rhythms at different sections of the performance. These rhythmic compositions, called seus, are traditionally formal. Before entering the dancing area, the drummers play a short and brisk rhythm. The seu is changed, and the drummers usually enter the dance area in line. The mohor xingor pepa is played (usually at the beginning) by a single player, who lays out an initial plaintive motif which sets the mood for the dance. The male dancers then enter the area in formation and perform (accompanied by singing, in which all participate). Other instruments which accompany this dance are the taal, a type of cymbal; the gogona, a reed-and-bamboo instrument; the toka, a bamboo clapper and the xutuli, a clay whistle. Bamboo flutes are also often used. The songs (bihu geet) accompanying the dance have been handed down for generations. Subjects of the lyrics include welcoming the Assamese new year, describing the life of a farmer, history and satire. Although males and females perform Bihu dance, the female Bihu dance has more variations (including freehand, twisting, with a rhythmic pepa, with a kahi (disk) and with jaapi—Assamese headgear). The performance may be long, but is enlivened by rapid changes in rhythm, mood, movements, pace and improvisation. Dancers and musicians are given opportunities to showcase their talents.

The dance takes several forms in the different northeastern Indian groups (e.g. the Deori Bihu dance, Mising Bihu dance or Rati Bihu celebrated by Morans).[ However, the underlying goal of the dance remains the same: to express the desire to feel both pain and happiness.

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Dhangari GajaMaharashtra

Dhangari Gaja is one of the most famous folk dances performed in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is performed by the shepherds of the Solapur District who are also known as Dhangar. These dancers earn their livelihood by rearing goat and sheep. The poetry of these shepherds is inspired usually by the surrounding evergreen trees. Their poetry is in a pattern which is known as 'Ovi' which is comprised of couplets. The poems also possess the tales regarding the birth of 'Biruba', their God, in very basic and simple lines. The Dhangari Gaja folk dance is executed in order to please the Shepherd's God and to get his blessings. The Dhangar dancers wear traditional Marathi dresses like Pheta, Angarkha, Dhoti and a colourful handkerchief. The groups of Dhangar dancers surround the players of drums and move with the rhythm.

Gaja is reckoned among the vibrant traditional folk dances of Maharashtra. This exquisite form of dance belongs to the shepherds, cowherds, buffalo keepers, and blanket weavers of Sholapur district, Maharashtra. Shepherds and men who undertake husbandry are referred to as Dhangars in the local dialect.

The word “Dhangar” is obtained from another word "Dhenu" meaning cow. These people make their living by raising goats and sheep in natural surroundings. Since most of their time is spent amidst the lap of nature, they get inspired by its beauty and compose poetry called ovi, which reflects their admiration for nature’s bounty. However, ovi consists of couplets and contains stories about the birth of their god "Biruba" and other incidents. Clad in traditional Marathi style Dhoti, Pheta, Angarakha and handkerchiefs, the men perform this dance in-group to the rhythmic beats of the drums. According to popular belief, Dhangars perform Dhangari Gaja dance to pay tribute to their God. This dance form is performed once in a year, marking the return of shepherds to their home. Depicting the mood and emotion of enjoyment and happiness, this form of art is performed with family members and near and dear ones. Everyone (particularly men) takes part in this dance to seek holy blessings as well as to celebrate homecoming.

History of Dhangari Gaja

This art form is common among the shepherd community of Sholapur district. The cowherds, buffalo keepers, weavers, and sheep and goat keepers have to stay away from their families for a long time because of the nature of their occupation. During work, they spend most of their time close to nature. Being in the beautiful surroundings of nature and drawing inspiration from its grandeur, they write poems in the form of couplets. Their poetry is called ovi which along with representing their love for nature also unfolds their dedication towards God Biruba. When these shepherds return home, they celebrate their time with family and loved ones performing Dhangari Gaja dance on the beats of drums accompanied with the recitation of their poems. Through this dance, they also ask for blessings from their God.

Dhangari Gaja Costumes

This traditional form of dancing is performed by men. Dancers wear Dhoti, Pheta, bright handkerchiefs and Angarakha during their performance. Attired in Marathi dresses, these men or more specifically, the shepherds recite poems (which tell fantastic stories about nature or their God and other things) and dance to the musical tunes of drums.

Performances

The main theme of Dhangari Gaja dance performance is celebration, happiness, joy of coming home to loved ones and honoring the God and seeking his blessings. And this mood is emphasized by swaying to the pulsating sound of the drums and the singing of poems. All men form a group and dance around the drum players on the rhythmic tunes, exhibiting boundless enthusiasm.

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Bagurumba DanceAssam

Bagurumba is a folk dance in Assam which is performed by the Bodos. It is usually practiced during Bwisagu, a Bodo festival in the Vishuva Sankranti (mid-April). Bwisagu begins with cow worship; then, young people reverentially bow down to their parents and elders.

After that, Bathow is worshiped by offering the deity chicken and zou (rice beer). Bodo women wearing colourful dokhna and aronai perform the Bagurumba dance (also known as the Bardwisikhla dance). It is accompanied by instruments such as the serja (a bowed instrument), sifung (flute), tharkha (split bamboo), kham or madal (long drum, made of wood and goatskin). The festival ends with a community prayer at Garjasali. This dance is performed in the Bodo-inhabited areas of Udalguri, Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Nalbari, Darrang and Sonitpur Districts.

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Cheraw DanceMizoram

Cheraw dance is a ritual dance performed in Mizoram, India, consisting of four people holding two crossed pairs of bamboo staves. It is one of the most famous dances in Mizoram, and a center of attraction during festive occasions. Similar dances are found in the Far East and in the Philippines, where it is known as Tinikling

The Cheraw dance is characterized by the use of bamboo staves, which are kept in cross and horizontal forms on the ground. While the male dancers move these bamboo staves in rhythmic beats, the female dancers perform by stepping in and out of the bamboo blocks. Recognized as one of the oldest dances of Mizoram, the Cheraw dance has become an integral part of almost every festival of Mizoram.

It is believed that the Cheraw dance originated as early as the 1st century AD. Long bamboo staves are used for this dance, therefore many people call it "Bamboo Dance". Aptly supported by two bases, the bamboos are clapped together on a particular beat by the male dancers. The females who have a perfect sense of timing, dance gracefully by stepping in and out of the crossed and horizontally laid bamboo staves. The dancers move by stepping alternatively in and out from between and across a pair of horizontal bamboos, held against the ground by people sitting face to face on either side. They tap the bamboos in rhythmic beats. The bamboos, placed horizontally, are supported by two bases, one at each end. The bamboos, when clapped, produce a sound which forms the rhythm of the dance. It indicates the timing of the dance as well. The dancers steps in and out to the beats of the bamboos with ease and grace.

The common costumes worn by the female performers during the Cheraw dance Dance include Thihna, Vakiria, Kawrchei and Puanchei. All these traditional costumes of Cheraw Dance come in vibrant colors that further brighten up the surrounding environment.

In the ancient ages, Cheraw dance Dance was performed with the hope of providing solace to soul of a deceased mother who had left her newborn child on earth. However, today, the horizon of Cheraw dance Dance has expanded considerably. In fact this dance is performed on every big and small occasion of Mizoram.

More often than not the various movements made by the Cheraw dance dancers are inspired by the nature. While some expressions of Cheraw dance Dance resemble the swaying of trees some others indicate the flying of birds. There is no denying the fact that Cheraw dance Dance is surely a most enchanting form of Mizoram culture

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