The folk dance of Nagaland

Nagaland is exotic in all forms, rich in primeval beauty and most importantly the traditional dance.

Music and dance play a huge part in Naga culture and any event won’t conclude without a folk dance.

The people of Nagaland believe in togetherness hence you will notice all their dances are presented in groups.

Speaking of which, Nagaland has multiple tribes each having their own uniqueness, dance forms, cultures, language, and more.

Nagaland dances

For instance, the major folk dances of Nagaland include Modse, Agurshikukula, Butterfly Dance, Aaluyattu, Sadal Kekai, Changai Dance, Kuki Dance, Leshalaptu, Khamba Lim, Mayur Dance, Monyoasho, Rengma, Seecha and Kukui Kucho, Shankai and Moyashai, etc, however, the prominent ones are War Dance and Zeliang Dance.

The men in Nagaland perform War Dance with an outburst cry and humming tune.

It can be said, that this dance form mocks war scenarios by involving dangerous war movements.

A single wrong step could ruin an entire act, it’s martial and athletic style requires a performer to whirl his legs while keeping the body in an upward posture.

Besides the traditional attire worn by the performers is simply unique.

Apart from War Dance being popular in Nagaland, there is another artistic dance of the Zeliang Naga tribe, the Zeliang dance.

Most of the Naga dances are predominantly performed by men but this tribe allows their women to partake in the dance as well.

Nothing too instrumental but only the beating of the drum in a synchronized melody along with leg movement makes men and women merge together forming a circle, chanting some chorus.

This chanting, clapping, and shouting of words, thumping of feet, gracefully endowed with traditional headgear and clothes inspires every member of the group and the spectators as well. In order to add vigor to the dance, the performers are garnished with metal ornaments.

The folk dance of Nagaland

The folk dances of the tribes of Nagaland can be witnessed in their auspicious festivals such as Moatsu, Tuluni, and Tsukhenyie Festival to name a few. However, if dates don’t follow up, a visit to the famous Hornbill Festival which happens once every December is definitely a must-visit. It is here one can witness the many unique folk dances of Nagaland.

The folk dance of Nagaland, an Indian state located in the northeastern part of the country, is rich and diverse.

But, Each tribe in Nagaland has its own unique traditional dances that are an integral part of their culture and celebrations.

Some of the prominent folk dances of Nagaland are:

Chang Lo

Chang Lo is a popular folk dance of the Chang tribe of Nagaland.

It is also a vibrant and energetic dance performed by both men and women.

The dancers form a circle, hold hands, and move in a synchronized manner, accompanied by rhythmic clapping and singing.

Aoling Monyu

Aoling Monyu is also a spring festival celebrated by the Konyak tribe of Nagaland.

During this festival, various traditional dances are performed, depicting hunting, farming, and warrior skills.

The dancers wear colorful traditional attire and intricate headgear.

Sekrenyi

Sekrenyi is a major festival celebrated by the Angami tribe of Nagaland.

As part of the festivities, a traditional dance is  called “Sekrenyi Dance.” The dancers wear traditional Angami attire, adorned with feathers, beads, and ornaments. The dance involves graceful movements and rhythmic steps.

Moatsu Mong

Moatsu Mong is a festival by the Ao tribe of Nagaland. The festival is marked by the Moatsu dance, performed by both men and women. The dancers wear traditional Ao attire and move in a circular formation, accompanied by traditional musical instruments like log drums and bamboo flutes.

Sua Lua

Sua Lua is also a popular folk dance of the Lotha tribe in Nagaland. It is a harvest dance performed by young boys and girls. The dancers form two lines facing each other and perform intricate steps while singing traditional songs.

 

 

Khamba Lim

Khamba Lim is a folk dance by the Zeliang tribe of Nagaland. It is primarily a male dance and is characterized by vigorous movements and leaps. The dancers carry spears and shields, showcasing their warrior skills. The dance is accompanied by rhythmic beats of drums and bamboo instruments.

Zeliang Nagas also perform a popular folk dance called ‘Bhangra,’ which is similar to the Bhangra dance of Punjab. It is a lively and energetic dance form characterized by vigorous footwork, lively music, and vibrant costumes.

Sangtam Ongpangkong

Sangtam Ongpangkong is a folk dance performed by the Sangtam tribe of Nagaland. It is usually performed during festivals and celebrations. The dancers form a circle and move in a circular pattern, swaying and hopping to the rhythm of the music. The dance reflects the agricultural practices and traditions of the Sangtam community.

Yimchunger Dance-folk dance of Nagaland

The Yimchunger tribe of Nagaland performs a traditional dance known as the Yimchunger Dance. It is a group dance performed by both men and women. The dancers wear traditional attire and adornments and move in a synchronized manner, showcasing their unity and harmony.

Rengma Warrior Dance-folk dance of Nagaland

The Rengma tribe of Nagaland has a unique folk dance called the Rengma Warrior Dance. It is performed by men, depicting the martial prowess and valor of the Rengma warriors. The dancers wear traditional warrior costumes, including headgear, shields, and spears. The dance involves powerful movements, mimicking battle maneuvers.

 

 

Kuki Dance-folk dance of Nagaland

The Kuki tribe, predominantly residing in Nagaland, performs the Kuki dance. It is a joyful dance performed during festivals and special occasions. The dancers form a circle, hold hands, and move in a synchronized manner, accompanied by traditional songs and musical instruments.

Phom Bamboo Dance

The Phom tribe of Nagaland is known for their Bamboo Dance, also known as “Ong-Mi Tsungmey.” In this dance, the performers skillfully maneuver bamboo poles, clapping and tapping them in rhythmic patterns. The dancers step in and out of the moving bamboo poles without getting hit, showcasing their agility and coordination.

Pochury Bamboo Dance-folk dance of Nagaland

The Pochury tribe, primarily residing in the Phek district of Nagaland, performs the Bamboo Dance as part of their cultural traditions. The dance involves weaving and interlocking bamboo poles, creating a complex pattern. The dancers step in and out of these bamboo formations while maintaining the rhythm.

Ao Naga Fire Dance-folk dance of Nagaland

The Ao tribe of Nagaland performs a unique Fire Dance during the Moatsu festival. In this dance, the male dancers hold long sticks, lit at one end, creating a trail of fire as they move in synchronized patterns. It is believed to ward off evil spirits and bring prosperity and good fortune to the community.

Phom Harvest Dance-folk dance of Nagaland

The Phom tribe celebrates their harvest festival with a vibrant Harvest Dance. The dancers wear traditional attire adorned with colorful beads and feathers. They perform rhythmic movements, symbolizing the joy and abundance of the harvest season.

 

 

Chang Lo dance-folk dance of Nagaland

The Chang Lo dance is a traditional folk dance of the Chang tribe, one of the major tribes in Nagaland, India. It is a joyful and energetic dance performed by both men and women, often during festivals and social gatherings.

The Chang Lo dance is characterized by its circular formation, where the dancers hold hands and form a large circle. The dancers move in a synchronized manner, following a particular choreography. They perform a series of rhythmic steps, turns, and twists while maintaining the circular pattern.

The dance is accompanied by lively music and singing. The participants clap their hands in sync with the music, adding to the rhythm and vibrancy of the performance. The songs sung during the Chang Lo dance often depict the daily life, traditions, and stories of the Chang tribe.

The dancers wear traditional attire during the Chang Lo dance. Men typically wear a colorful waistcoat, a white or striped shirt, a headband, and a traditional shawl called a “lohe.” Women wear colorful mekhelas (a two-piece traditional dress) with vibrant patterns and designs, along with traditional jewelry and accessories.

The Chang Lo dance is not only a form of cultural expression but also a way to strengthen social bonds and unity within the Chang community. It showcases the grace, coordination, and collective spirit of the dancers. The dance is an integral part of the Chang tribe’s cultural heritage, preserving their traditions and promoting community cohesion.

 

Aoling Monyu-folk dance of Nagaland

Aoling Monyu is a significant festival celebrated by the Konyak tribe, one of the prominent Naga tribes in Nagaland, India. It is often referred to as the “Spring Festival” and marks the beginning of the agricultural season. Aoling Monyu is a time of rejoicing, renewing friendships, and seeking blessings for a fruitful harvest.

During the Aoling Monyu festival, various traditional dances are performed by the Konyak tribe. These dances play a crucial role in showcasing their cultural heritage and traditions. One of the key dances performed during the festival is the Aoling Monyu Dance.

The Aoling Monyu Dance is a collective dance performed by both men and women. The dancers wear elaborate traditional attire, which includes vibrant costumes adorned with beads, feathers, and shells. The men often carry spears and shields, reflecting their warrior traditions.

The dance is characterized by rhythmic movements, footwork, and intricate hand gestures. The dancers move in a synchronized manner, creating a lively and energetic atmosphere. The music accompanying the dance consists of traditional instruments like log drums, bamboo flutes, and gongs.

The Aoling Monyu Dance is not only a form of cultural expression but also a way to invoke the blessings of the deities for a bountiful harvest. It is believed to bring good fortune, and prosperity, and ward off evil spirits. The dance also serves as a platform for showcasing the Konyak tribe’s rich artistic skills and promoting community bonding.

Apart from the Aoling Monyu Dance, other traditional activities and rituals are observed during the festival, such as feasting, traditional games, bonfires, and mock fights. These celebrations provide an opportunity for the Konyak community to come together, strengthen social ties, and pass down their cultural legacy to future generations.

 

Sekrenyi dance-folk dance of Nagaland

Sekrenyi is a major festival celebrated by the Angami tribe, one of the prominent Naga tribes in Nagaland, India. The festival holds great cultural and social significance for the Angami community. During Sekrenyi, various rituals, ceremonies, and traditional dances take place, with the Sekrenyi Dance being a highlight of the festivities.

The Sekrenyi Dance is performed by both men and women, showcasing their cultural heritage and traditional practices. It is characterized by graceful movements, rhythmic steps, and synchronized formations. The dancers wear traditional Angami attire, which includes vibrant and intricately designed shawls, ornaments, headgear, and accessories.

The dance is accompanied by traditional music, consisting of instruments like drums, gongs, bamboo flutes, and cymbals. The rhythm of the music sets the pace for the dancers, guiding their movements and creating an immersive experience for the participants and spectators.

The Sekrenyi Dance holds symbolic meaning for the Angami tribe. It is believed to appease the deities and seek their blessings for a prosperous and harmonious life. The dance also signifies unity, community bonding, and the preservation of Angami culture and traditions.

During Sekrenyi, the Angami people come together to celebrate, share meals, exchange gifts, and participate in various ceremonies and rituals. The festival promotes social harmony, fosters a sense of belonging, and reinforces the cultural identity of the Angami tribe.

The Sekrenyi Dance and the overall celebration of the Sekrenyi festival provide a platform for the Angami community to express their artistic skills, pass down their cultural heritage to younger generations, and strengthen the cultural fabric of their society.

 

Moatsu Mong dance

Moatsu Mong is a significant festival celebrated by the Ao tribe, one of the major Naga tribes in Nagaland, India. It is a time of rejoicing, gratitude, and prayers for a bountiful harvest. During the festival, various traditional dances are performed, with the Moatsu Mong Dance being a prominent part of the celebrations.

The Moatsu Mong Dance is a collective dance performed by both men and women of the Ao tribe. It is a vibrant and lively dance that showcases the cultural heritage and traditions of the community. The dancers form a circular formation and move in a synchronized manner, accompanied by rhythmic music and singing.

The dancers wear traditional Ao attire, which includes colorful shawls, ornaments, and accessories. The men often carry traditional weapons like spears and dao (a traditional Naga sword), while the women wear elegant mekhelas (a two-piece traditional dress) with intricate designs.

More about Moatsu Mong Dance

The Moatsu Mong Dance involves intricate footwork, graceful movements, and synchronized steps. The dancers create a rhythmic pattern with their feet, enhancing the overall visual appeal of the dance. The music accompanying the dance is usually played on traditional instruments like log drums, bamboo flutes, and gongs.

The Moatsu Mong Dance is a symbol of unity, joy, and celebration. It signifies the unity of the Ao community and their gratitude for the blessings of nature. It is believed to invoke the spirits and deities to bestow their blessings on the agricultural endeavors and bring a fruitful harvest.

During the Moatsu festival, apart from the dance, the Ao tribe also engages in various activities like feasting, traditional games, and rituals. The festival serves as a platform for the community to come together, strengthen social bonds, and pass on their cultural traditions to the younger generation.

The Moatsu Mong Dance and the festivities associated with the Moatsu festival play a vital role in preserving the cultural identity and heritage of the Ao tribe, promoting community cohesion, and fostering a sense of pride among its members.

 

 

 

Khamba Lim dance

The Khamba Lim dance is a traditional folk dance performed by the Zeliang tribe, one of the prominent Naga tribes in Nagaland, India. It is a lively and energetic dance that showcases the rich cultural heritage and traditions of the Zeliang people.

The Khamba Lim dance is primarily performed by men, although women may also participate in some versions of the dance. The dancers exhibit vigorous movements, high jumps, and athletic prowess. The dance involves intricate footwork, swift turns, and coordinated group formations.

During the Khamba Lim dance, the male dancers typically wear traditional attire, which includes a colorful waistcoat, a white or striped shirt, a headband, and a traditional shawl. They may also carry traditional weapons such as spears or shields, reflecting the warrior traditions of the Zeliang tribe.

The dance is accompanied by the rhythmic beats of drums, bamboo instruments, and other traditional musical instruments. The music sets the pace for the dancers, and the synchronized clapping and singing of the performers further enhance the energetic ambiance of the dance.

The Khamba Lim dance holds cultural significance for the Zeliang tribe. It is often performed during festivals, social gatherings, and community celebrations. The dance serves as a means of expressing their cultural identity, unity, and collective spirit. It also showcases the physical strength, agility, and skills of the Zeliang men.

By preserving and performing the Khamba Lim dance, the Zeliang tribe ensures the continuity of their cultural heritage, passing down the dance traditions to future generations and maintaining a connection to their roots. The dance remains an integral part of the Zeliang community’s cultural fabric, promoting a sense of pride, camaraderie, and cultural identity.

 

Zeliang Nagas dance

The Zeliang Naga tribe, one of the prominent Naga tribes in Nagaland, India, has several traditional dances that are an integral part of their cultural celebrations. Here are a few examples of dances associated with the Zeliang Naga tribe:

 

 

Bhangra Dance

The Zeliang Nagas also perform a dance form similar to the Bhangra dance of Punjab. It is a lively and exuberant dance characterized by energetic movements, foot stomping, and rhythmic clapping. However, The Bhangra dance celebrates the joyous occasions and social gatherings within the Zeliang Naga community.

 

Bamboo Dance

The Bamboo Dance, also known as “Ong-Mi Tsungmey,” is another traditional dance form performed by the Zeliang Naga tribe. In this dance, the performers skillfully maneuver bamboo poles, clapping and tapping them in rhythmic patterns. The dancers step in and out of the moving bamboo formations without getting hit, showcasing their agility and coordination.

These are some examples of the dances associated with the Zeliang Naga tribe. Each dance form reflects the cultural heritage, traditions, and celebrations of the Zeliang Naga community. Through these dances, the Zeliang Nagas express their cultural identity, preserve their traditions, and promote unity within their community.

Baimaijai dance

The Baimaijai dance is a traditional folk dance of the Dimasa community.

The dance is by young girls or women holding a plate or dish in each hand.

This dance has a unique feature, where the performers showcase their skills by balancing the plates while dancing. During the reign of the Dimasa kingdom, the victorious king celebrated his triumph by entertaining his subjects with this dance form in the Palace.

Nsuirolians Dance

Genthinglim Dance

Temangnetin 

Hataleulee

 

Conclusion

These are a few more examples of the diverse folk dances found in Nagaland.

But, Each dance is deeply rooted in the cultural traditions, customs, and beliefs of the respective tribes, and they serve as a means of storytelling, celebration, and community bonding.

Which is the folk dance of Nagaland?

 

The folk dance of Nagaland is often associated with the various tribes that inhabit the state. One of the prominent traditional dances of Nagaland is the “Naga warrior dance” or “War dance,” which is performed by Naga tribes like the Ao, Angami, Sema, Lotha, and others. These dances are characterized by energetic movements, vibrant traditional attire, and the use of indigenous musical instruments. The Naga warrior dance often reflects the martial spirit and rich cultural heritage of the Naga people.

What is hornbill dance in Nagaland?

 
 

It is a traditional dance form in Nagaland that is associated with the Hornbill Festival, one of the most celebrated festivals in the state. The Hornbill Festival takes place annually in the first week of December and aims to showcase the rich cultural heritage and traditional practices of the various Naga tribes.

The Hornbill Dance is also a collective term for various tribal dances performed during the festival. Different Naga tribes have their own unique dance styles and costumes, and they come together to participate in this grand cultural event. The dance is named after the Indian hornbill bird, which holds significant cultural and religious importance in the region.

During the Hornbill Dance, you can also witness a display of colorful traditional attire, intricate jewelry, and vibrant performances that often narrate stories, depict hunting scenes, or celebrate aspects of Naga life. So, The festival, including the Hornbill Dance, provides a platform for the Naga tribes to come together, share their cultural diversity, and foster a sense of unity and understanding among the people.

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