The folk dance of Assam is the best expression of traditions and customs.
It is also home to many groups and tribes, such as Mongoloid, Indo-Burmese, Indo-Iranian, Aryan, Rabha, Bodo, Kachari, Karbi, Mishing, Sonowal Kacharis, and Mishimi.
Due to this the state attains overabundance at its best.
Various folk dance forms are in different corners of Assam.
Popular folk dances of Assam are as follows
- Bihu dance
- Jhumair dance
- Bagrumba dance
- Ali ai ligand dance
- Devdhani dance
- Bhortal dance
- Khamba lim
- Anakia dance
- Bardwisikhla dance
- Oja pali
- Satriya Nritya
- Tiwa dance
- Deori dance
- Karbi dance
- Naga Dance
- Khel Gopal Dance
- Tabal Chongli Dance
- Bichhua Dance
- Natpuja Dance
- Maharas Dance
- KaliGopal Dance
- Canoe Dance
Folk Dance Bihu
The most popular folk dance of Assam.
It is celebrated with great prosperity and pride.
Though the origin of the dance is unknown,
However, its first official document is by Ahom King Rudra Singh.
To invite Bihu dancers to perform in the Rang houses for Rungli Bihu during 1694.
Later the completion of the harvest, this dance is performed.
So, the celebration continues for a month.
It is a group dance in which men and women dance together, but have different gender roles.
For example, women dance in vertical lines or circular forms.
Male dancers and musicians first enter the dance area, maintaining their synchronized pattern.
Similarly, When the female dancers arrive, the male dancers break their line to match the female dancers.
So, The movements and bends of the hips, hands, and wrists are very similar, with subtle differences in male and female dance.
Music and Instrument of the Folk Dance of Assam
Traditional music play for the dance.
The most important musicians are the dholiya.
They play a two-faced dhol with a stick and a palm.
There is usually more than one drum in a performance.
These rhythmic compositions, called sis, are traditionally formal.
But, Before entering the dance area, Dholiya plays a short and fast rhythm.
After changing sis, the dholiya usually enters the dance field in the line.
A player plays Mohar Exangor Pepa in starting, which gives an opening shape and creates dance excitement.
The male dancers then enter the field of construction and performance.
So, The theme of the songs includes welcoming the Assamese new year, describing a peasant, history, and satire.
Although men and women dance Bihu, female Bihu dance has more variety.
Jhumar folk dance
Jhumar Nach is also one of the most important folk dances of Assam, performed by tea workers of Assam.
It is also a traditional dance form of the tribal or chai tribe community of Assam.
After a long day of hard work, the tea workers or tea tribes (also called tribals) behave in dance and music to break the boredom of their lives and to spread happiness through it all.
However, young girls and boys perform this dance.
Men wear long traditional clothes and also have rhythms with some traditional musical instruments, usually a dhol or Mandar (hanging on the shoulders), a flute, and a “taal” (two metal plates).
But, The girls mostly participate in dances and hold each other’s waist and extend their arms and legs back and forth with coordination.
The Bodo Samaj performs this dance.
This is also inherent in dance.
This dance is also known as Butterfly Dance, Kristi Dance, and Bardavishika Dance.
The dance has relatively slow steps with high structures that overwhelm the audience.
During the Bishuba Sankranti season, this dance is performed.
Butterflies and birds are among the forms performed by dancers.
The Boro people also love greenery and they used to stay in the eastern and southern Himalayas.
Dance makes excitement in Boro people, they feel peace and happiness in their minds.
Ali Ai Ligang Folk Dance
Ali Ai Ligung is a festival associated with agriculture and celebrated during the cultivation of ahu paddy.
They also perform this dance to praise their deity – Mother Earth.is it a traditional festival of Mishings tribals one of the second largest tribes of Assam?
This festival is usually celebrated on the first Wednesday of Phagun (mid-February) month.
Ali Ai Ligang means first sowing of roots and fruits which ‘ALI’ stands for seeds. ‘AI’ for Fruits in which ‘LIGANG’ is for sowing.
Roots and fruits were their staple food of livelihood in Assam.
Dance and feast are integral parts of the festival.
After the chanting and the sowing of the seeds, they promise to share the harvest amongst the patron and the beggars.
The dance form expresses the ups and downs of human life.
Flute, drum, gong, etc are used in this dance.
Devdhani is one of the folk dances of Assam.
Associated with devotion to the snake goddess Mansa.
A girl, who dances to the beats of Sipung (flute) and Kham (drum), in a trance-like inspired state performed this dance.
At one stage of the dance, they also carry a sword and a shield, along with a battle dance, in which various deities are honored, such as Shiva, Lakshmi, etc.
It is a solo or group performance. Deodhani is the origin of Bodo-kachari.
The group dance essentially comprises 3 or 4 women.
Bhortal Folk Dance
This form of dance is mainly a spread of the Sankari culture of Assam.
The famous Satya artist, Narhari Burha Bhakat develop this dance.
It has its origins in classical arts.
During festivals in the Barpeta and Guwahati regions, 6-10 dancers equipped with cymbals perform this dance.
Dances are one of the most popular dances performed in the Assam state of India.
People who belong to all age groups and cultural backgrounds enjoy this dance.
This dance reflects the rich cultural heritage of the Indian state of Assam.
It is basically performed in groups.
The use of the cyrnbols makes the dance presentation appear very colorful.
Very colorful patterns produce during the dance movements
This is the uniqueness of this dance form of Assam.
It is one of the folk dances of Assam.
Two groups of men and women, who stand in two rows perform this dance.
Traditional music play for this dance.
The vocal musicians and drummers play an essential role in this dance.
Like all other folk dances, the Assamese folk dances are also colorful, attractive, and rhythmic.
The musical source for the folk dances is soul-stirring and melodious.
It is one of the folk dances of Assam which is an act-play.
Sankardev started this dance.
Srimanta Sankardeva composed a variety of literary works such as Barjeet, songs by Ojha Pali, and several dances.
The dance drama is called Anakiya Nat.
Bardwi – Sikhla dance
The dance originated from the Sattriya folk dance that was created by Guru Sankaradev.
He took bits from other folk music to create classical dance.
They first started using drums and then slowly inculcated other instruments over time to create modern Bodo music.
The dance involves song, dance as well as dialogue.
All 50 dance perform this dance.
Dancers wear costumes and ornaments including those playing heavy drums and cymbals.
Bhoriya is the actor who performs this dance.
Oja Pali Dance
It is also the classical folk dance of Assam.
There is singing and dancing along with dramatic dialogue and action.
This dance is also mostly based on epic and Puran stories.
This dance is also a classical dance of Assam.
introduced by Vaishnava saint in the 15th century.
However, In the winter season, this dance is mainly performed.
Mostly, mythological stories are described with this dance.
This dance belongs to Bihu music.
Practiced by singers, instrument players, and dancers of the Deori community on Majuli island.
Moreover, The Deori is a small community of Tibeto-Burman origin mainly settled in Upper Assam.
But, The event takes place outside the village close to the mandir (temple) dedicated to the Deori goddess Kundimama Devi.
Dance and Music play an important role in the life of the Karbi Society.
However, The youths also perform during the Chomangkan, the death ceremony, and other socio-religious festivals.
Hacha Kekan, the dance performed at the harvesting festival is very lively and eye-catching.
During the cremation rites or death ceremony, experts sing song
Only a professional weeper called UCHEPI sings a song called Sarhe.
So, They have a Karbi version of the Ramayana called Sabin Alun.
But the most interesting part of this epic is that it is unwritten.
And handed down from one generation to another orally.
Assam is very much influenced by the traditions and customs of the Nagas.
Firstly Naga Dances are very popular here, especially in the Dima Hasao district of Assam.
Naga folk dances are unique and typically portray the tradition and culture of the Naga.
In modern times, these traditional dances have been mixed with modern dance techniques.
It has also created a fusion type of dance
The Naga dance is based on the martial art that is related to their headhunting tradition.
Male and female dancers wear traditional costumes for the performances.
Men usually wear headgear, ear cotton, necklace, boar task, chest line, loin, wrist band, bead kilt, mini waist basket, anklet, fur handled dao, fur handled spear, and shield.
Women usually jewel themselves with earrings, necklaces, headgear, string necklaces, armbands, spiral bracelets, mekhela, waistlines, iron/walking sticks, smoke pipes, and baskets.
Khel Gopal Dance
It is the folk dance of Assam.
But only male dancers can participate in this dance.
They use sticks while dancing to a folk song of their tribal community.
Dancers wear dhotis and banyan.
Tabal Chongli Dance
Tabal Chongli’ is a form of folk dance associated with the State of Assam.
Other popular dance forms of the state are Bihu, Khel Gopal, Rash Lila, Canoe, etc
It is also a folk dance of Assam.
Female dancers coordinate with each other.
So dancers wear the traditional same color dress with headstring.
This dance is an important part of Assamese culture.
Tribal folk dance is also important to the culture of Assam.
Moreover, Assam is home to a number of tribes and races each of which has its own fairs and festivals.
In short, It’s the confluence of various dances which is the best example of the unity of diversity.
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