|NICOBARESE DANCE (ANDAMAN &
This is the dance of the Nicobarese - the fascinating tribal
group residing in the island of Car Nicobar. The dance is performed during the
Ossuary Feast or the Pig Festival. Dedicated to the departed head of the family,
the occasion is observed with night long dancing in the full moonlight under the
swaying palms. The dancers dressed in coconut fronds step gracefully in time to
traditional songs. Feasting and good food followed by a pig fight in the morning
are other highlights of the celebration.
Nongkrem Dance of Meghalaya is celebrated during autumn at Smit,
the cultural center of the Khasi Hills, to essentially commemorate the evolution
of Khasi indigenous democratic states called Hima.
Padayani or Padeni in colloquial speech is one of the most colorful
and spectacular folk arts associated with the festivals of certain temples in
southern Kerala (Aleppy, Quilon, Pathanamthitta,
and Kottayam districts). The word Padayani literally means military formations
or rows of army, but in this folk art we have mainly a series of divine and semi-divine
impersonations wearing huge masks or kolams of different shapes, colors and designs
painted on the stalks of areca nut fronds. The most important of the kolams usually
presented in a Padayani performance are Bhairavi (Kali),
Kalan (god of death), Yakshi
(fairy), Pakshi (bird) etc.
The Kolam consists primarily of a huge headgear
with many projections and devices with a mask for the face or a chest piece to
cover the breast and abdomen of the performer. The whole performance consisting
of the dancers or actors who wear the kolams, the singers who recite a different
poem for each Kolam, and the instrumentalists who evoke wild and loud rhythm on
their simple drum called Thappu and Cymbals, etc., takes the form of a procession
of Kali and her spirits returning after the killing of the Asura chief Darika.
PANTHI (MADHYA PRADESH)
The folk dance of the Satnami community of Madhya Pradesh
bears religious overtones. Performed on Maghi Purnima
- the birth anniversary of their Guru Ghasidas, the dance is evolving still to
include a variety of steps and patterns. The dancers dance around a jaitkham set
up for the occasion, to the songs eulogizing their spiritual head. The songs also
reflect the Nirvana philosophy, conveying the spirit of renunciation of their
Guru and the teachings of saint poets like Kabir, Ramdas,
Dadu, etc. Dancers with bent torsos and swinging arms continue to dance
till carried away by their devotion. As the rhythm quickens, they indulge in acrobatics
and even form human pyramids.
PAVRI NACH (MAHARASHTRA)
In the hilly regions of the northwest, the Kokna
tribal dance to the accompaniment of the tarpha or pavri,
a wind instrument made of dried gourd. Because of this, the dance is known as
Tarpha Nach or Pavri Nach. The performers hold each other by the waist and dance
in close formation. Men also dance separately, and this includes feats of skill,
like forming a pyramid or rapidly revolving a dancer round a stout pole.
PHOONG CHOLAM (MANIPUR)
The Phoong cholam (drum dance) is a form a Manipuri dance.
It forms a part of the ritualistic congregational offering.